Social Media encompasses tools that enable people to create, exchange/share messages and information on virtual networks and communities. It is a means of interaction among people. It is dependent on mobile and web-based technologies for the development of interactive platforms used by individuals for discussing, co-creating and engaging user-generated content.
The channels of communication for businesses, organizations, individuals as well as communities have changed with the development of this medium. However, since the field is still emerging, most professionals question as to what is social media and how is it affecting the face of marketing.
Social Media is different from traditional media or industry media. The distinction can be seen on the grounds of various aspects:
According to reports, social media sites are used more by internet users as compared to any other site. Experts need to understand more about social media and how unlimited amount of information can be utilized for business marketing, social communications and much more.
Social Media Tools and Platforms
There are several social media tools and platforms that have recently gained popularity based on their usage and reach. Each platform serves different purposes and must be used optimally to extract maximum benefit. Few tools and platforms are mentioned below:
- Blogs: This platform allows users to share information on a particular topic and accordingly engage in a casual dialogue with opinions and discussions.
- Facebook: The platform has grown to become the largest social network. Users are given the opportunity to interact and communicate with friends through messages, photos, videos and comments. The social media platform has also emerged popular for business marketing with brand pages being created for promotion of goods and services.
- Twitter: Known for the exchange of short status messages in 140 characters, the platform allows individuals and communities to communicate instantly.
- YouTube: The platform has become synonymous with videos. Any individual searching for video content will try on YouTube.
- Instagram: A video and photo sharing app allowing users to create frames and add special effects to their photos. Popularly used by brands to execute photo based campaigns and contests.
- LinkedIn: A more professional platform for exchanging information pertaining to the business aspect of an organization.
With the increasing number of users on Social Media, the need for businesses to be active on the platforms has increased tremendously. To provide assistance with this, there are a number of agencies providing social media services and it is the responsibility of the marketing manager to select one that is savvy with all the tools and platforms.
Key Objectives for Social Media Managers
- The fundamental function of social media is conversations with the community and audience. It is for building relationships and credibility and not just marketing services for sales.
- Maintaining authenticity and transparency is the key to success.
- Social Media gives you the chance to hear what people have to say about you and at the same time respond to them.
- Use content that is engaging and do not fear trying. Updates are being introduced and experts must be at par with these to be able to benefit optimally.
Social Media is an exceptional tool for two-way communication and engagement. However, since the nature of communication is real time, there are significant risks associated in case not used appropriately.