Q: How can brands stand out among the growing abundance of misinformation that exists on social media sites, like Facebook, today?


A: Can brands save social media?

Oddly, with the growing abundance of misinformation and puzzling "fake news," it appears as if this may be the case.

Not too long ago, brands, and the marketers behind them, were the uninvited guests to this virtual cocktail party called social media.

Yet, after being pushed out and scorned for years, brands have polished their act to offer an engaging and entertaining presence on social media.

In fact, their often-used principles of authenticity and relevancy are at the core of what is making brands become example-setters for online etiquette and a legitimate force for uniting online communities.

In a time when social media has become infested with rumors and speculation, the disciplined practice of authenticity expected by brands on social media has created a reliable and trustworthy voice.

An even more important characteristic of brands is the use of relevant messaging to target audiences to deliver communications to only those hoping to receive them in their social feeds.

If only news sites and our personal connections would use this approach in their provocative posts.

So, think about which brands you admire on social media and how they connect individuals around a common cause. Isn't this the fundamental purpose of social media?

Also, pay attention to how eager most brands are on social media to clear up misunderstandings and resolve problems with customers.

Perhaps there is hope for the rest of us to clear up social media confusion and frustrations by following the examples being set by brands today.

Todd Hedberg is an instructor of strategic social media marketing at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, Executive Education.