What is Social Media?
A lot of us assume that we know what social media means. However, social media is actually a marriage of two well-known phenomena: media is an instrument of communication, just like a newspaper or a radio; social activity is a necessary function of human groups. Therefore, social media is a social instrument of communication. Speaking in Web 2.0 terms, a social media site won’t just give you information, but will also let you interact and share your inputs and thoughts. This includes letting you share your comments, opinions, or suggestions regarding specific information. Think of it this way: the media is a one way street wherein you may simply read the newspaper, listen to the radio, or watch TV, and allows very limited ability to share your thoughts. On the other hand, social media lets you actively interact and communicate to share your thoughts with other people.
Main Categories of Social media websites
- Social Bookmarking – Tagging and searching websites tagged by other people (delicious)
- Social News – Interact by voting for articles and commenting about them (Digg)
- Social Networking – Interact by adding friends, commenting, joining groups, and having discussions (Facebook)
- Social Photo and Video Sharing – Interact and share Videos and Photos, comment about user submissions (YouTube), (Flicker)
- Wikis- Share and edit articles, interact (Wikipedia)
The Top 6 Since 2012
It is interesting to note that the top six social media platforms have not changed since 2012. The ranking is in the following order:
- Facebook (Social Networking)
- Twitter (Social News and Networking)
- Linkedin (Social Networking)
- YouTube ( Social Video Sharing)
- Blogging (Social News, articles)
- Google+ (Social Networking)
Why is Social Media a Must for Small and Medium Business?
The marketing and advertising landscape has changed significantly since the advent of the internet and tech mobility, which have brought dramatic increases in capability for startups, small, and medium businesses. Mobile and Internet together have incited a new era in effective communication strategies and engagement. Thinking.com reports a total of 6,915 million mobile subscriptions globally, so it’s no surprise that every social media platform today has put serious effort toward becoming device responsive and thereby ensured a wider reach. For any business aiming to reach maximum targeted customers - and what business isn’t - social media brings in great opportunities to reach and expand your active audience while engaging with the right potential customers. Today, social media presence is a responsibility to your business and a necessity which provides benefits you simply cannot ignore. Here’s a quick overview of how you may stand to benefit from social media:
Improve Exposure – One of the starting points in marketing any business is to increase exposure and awareness. A consistent social media campaign assures that your business is constantly increasing exposure and building up a channel for future engagement.
Generate Leads – Once people are aware of your business, they want to learn more. But people want to know more than your products- they also want to know what you stand for and what opportunities you provide for your customers to engage and receive reward. Social media connects them to the information they want to receive.
Grow Business Partnerships – Once you are in social media circles, you are bound to run into opportunities for partnerships and can begin to undertake integrated marketing campaigns. Business partnerships set the ball rolling on branching out and creating new opportunities for sales and co-promotions to promote your product to an even larger and more diverse audience.
Reduce Marketing Spend – Your efforts on social media will reward you in ways more than one. Unlike traditional advertising, social media marketing goes a long way and is not only free, but also costs much less to assess returns on investment. It also generates buzz, which is some of the best marketing you can ask for.
Increased Traffic – More “social mention” simply means more engagement and more business, which in turn increases traffic to your website and creates fresh opportunities to generate customer support. Increased traffic can help you become a leader in your niche, which builds authority of and loyalty to your business.
Improve Search Rankings – Though this is controversial, increased search ranking is reported as a result of higher social media activity. As your site climbs the ladder on relevance, usability, content, and engagement, search rankings are bound to improve. It is important to keep tabs on unique and fresh content for continued results.
Enhance Brand Loyalty – Getting new customers is one thing, but keeping them for a repeat purchase is another- and a highly valuable skill. Social media has all the tools and techniques for you to reach your customers fast and keep them happy with great service. To keep increasing the customer base, it is important to keep your customers connected and resolve issues actively. In short, if you are prepared to commit to the long haul, social media provides an opportunity to keep your customer base growing consistently.
Enhance marketplace insight and gain thought leadership – As your efforts mature to fruition, you will have fresh perspective about your industry. Social media provides you with a platform to work from to unlock new opportunities in the areas of content marketing, customer engagement, partnerships, and even new product development. Social media can provide you with a consumer-based, in-depth knowledge of the market that will prove to be invaluable as your business grows.