Social media are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation or sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.The variety of stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available introduces challenges of definition; however, there are some common features:
- Social media are interactive Web 2.0 Internet-based applications.
- User-generated content such as text posts or comments, digital photos or videos, and data generated through all online interactions, is the lifeblood of social media.
- Users create service-specific profiles and identities for the website or app that are designed and maintained by the social media organization.
- Social media facilitate the development of online social networks by connecting a user’s profile with those of other individuals or groups.
Users usually access social media services via web-based apps on desktops and laptops, or download services that offer social media functionality to their mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets). As users engage with these electronic services, they create highly interactive platforms through which individuals, communities, and organizations can share, co-create, discuss, participate and modify user-generated content or self-curated content posted online.
Networks formed through social media change the way groups of people interact and communicate or stand with the votes. They “introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals.” These changes are the focus of the emerging fields of technoself studies. Social media differ from paper-based media (e.g., magazines and newspapers) and traditional electronic media such as TV broadcasting, Radio broadcasting in many ways, including quality,reach, frequency, interactivity, usability, immediacy, and performance. Social media outlets operate in a dialogic transmission system (many sources to many receivers). This is in contrast to traditional media which operates under a mono-logic transmission model (one source to many receivers), such as a newspaper which is delivered to many subscribers, or a radio station which broadcasts the same programs to an entire city. Some of the most popular social media websites, with over 100 million registered users, include Facebook (and its associated Facebook Messenger),
youTube, WeChat, Instagram, Weibo, Twitter, Tumblr, Telegram, Baidu Tieba, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, LINE, Snapchat, Pinterest, Viber, VK, Reddit, Discord and more.
Social Media and Social Networking Sites
Like with content marketing, due to the continuously developing internet marketing industry, there are countless digital media and social networking sites, all of which have a unique characteristic and purpose. As part of an introduction, here are a few social network examples.
Facebook is the biggest and arguably most powerful social network in the world with 1.55 billion active monthly users. Regardless if you are a startup or fortune 500 company, you need to be on Facebook and start *engaging with your consumers. (*Positively. We don’t want to replicate Amy’s Baking Company’s mistake).
Twitter is known as the ‘‘in the moment’’ platform and boasts a respectful 255 million active monthly users. Twitter is a perfect online marketing tool for businesses that want to reach out to people (and are ready for a reply). The key is to be quick and smart, ever heard of dunk in the dark?
Instagram is a visual platform designed for customers to post, share, comment and engage through digital media. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
LinkedIn is regarded as the professional social networking site. LinkedIn largely focuses on b2b marketing rather than b2c.
Google +, Youtube, Foursquare and Pintrest are other social network sites that harshly miss out on the list. And then there’s Snapchat, the new kid on the block, who recently recorded six billion daily views. Should Facebook be worried?
What’s your take on any of the above social networking sites? Are there any other sites you display your digital media and connect with consumers on? We’d love to know!
Social Media Marketing Strategy
Having a social media presence without an appropriate strategy and plan can be just as damaging for your business as no plan at all. We have created a social media marketing strategy checklist that should aid your online marketing operations.
“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience.”
- Set Goals – Start big and work down. Do you need to increase customer loyalty?
- Know your target audience – Don’t just use demographics but expand with psychographics.
- Social Media – Decide on which digital media will help you connect with your audience. Will this take the form of a blog, video, podcast etc?
- Social Network Strategy – Focus on a social network that adds value. Just because a network has over a hundred million active users doesn’t mean it will directly contribute to your brand’s objectives.
- Measurment and Testing – What does success mean to you? You need to constantly analyse your social media strategy to understand how effective it is. Engage with your audience, find out what works and what doesn’t.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
For some of you, investing in a social media marketing service may have been identified as the missing link connecting you with your consumers. However for the others, who are still contemplating diving into the social marketing end, look no further than the following facts.
Social media marketing increases your brand’s awareness. 78 % of small businesses use social media to attract new customers. Furthermore 33% of customers have identified social media as how they identify new brands products and services.
Social media marketing helps to validate your brand. A company’s social media presence, when done correctly, tells consumers that their brand is active and focused on thriving communication with consumers. 63% of consumers who search for businesses online are more likely to use ones with an informative social media presence. Need more help on how to validate your brand? Check out our branding blog.
Social media marketing has the power to increase customer loyalty. 71% of consumers who received a quick response on social media would recommend the brand to others.