Social Media 101: The Basics for Social Media Newbies in a World of Self-Proclaimed Experts
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard of social media. Social media is defined by Webster as, “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, VK, Flickr, Vine, and Snapchap are the top 10 social networking sites according to a recent eBiz article.
Some of you may think that you might have time to play with these personally, but not professionally. Some of you may think that you can just automate your social media and still reap the rewards. Some of you will say,” I have a social media page, but I never post to it.” I would challenge that you don’t have that luxury. These free applications have changed the way companies and organizations are interacting with customers. It has created a two-way line of communication for many customers with their favorite brands, and is being using to expand and cultivate those relationships. These sites have taken focused/targeted client development to a whole new level. Their sophisticated advertising and boosted posts options have made targeted digital advertising affordable and easy to use. Social media is the definition of a client-rich atmosphere, and not using them is a big mistake.
Wikipedia lists over a hundred social media sites, so which ones are right for your business? Let’s start with the top social media sites and what each of them do – a sort of basics for social media newbies.
- Facebook – is the most popular free social networking site. It is a true networking site and allows you to find friends, colleagues and have clients find you. Users can share information, photos and videos. This site is an online community builder.
- Twitter – is an information network that allows users to share content in 140 characters or less. This is more of a news flash sort of site that is a great way to stay “in the know” and have conversations on the “news” with other users.
- LinkedIn – is the most popular and trusted business-oriented social site. Users are encouraged to build online biographies, showcase their education/skills and connect with professional colleagues. This site is a great way to network with others on a professional level, and stay up to date with industry specific trends.
- Pinterest – is a website that allows users to upload, share, sort and manage images and other media content. Most of the posts on this site are easy tips, recipes, how tos and information that satisfies the DIY in everyone.
- Google+ – is a social site that is owned and operated by Google. It is very similar to Facebook in that users can follow and connect with friends, colleagues and companies. Information is shared in circles, which is very useful for targeted messaging. Company Google plus pages are connected with Google Maps/Google Locations/ Google My Business. With so much emphasis on Google Reviews, I anticipate this platform making huge leaps and bounds as it grows and matures. It has already been said to have replaced the phone book.
- Tumblr – is a micro blogging social site that is owned by Yahoo!. Users can post multimedia and other content in short blog form.
- Instagram – is a Facebook-owned photo and video sharing app that has become very popular over the past year. It is available on most mobile devices and users can upload and share with a select group of people. Companies are using this to showcase products, services and personnel.
- Snapchat – is a short-form video, photo messaging application that works on mobile devises. It is an easy, fast and fun mobile conversation tool that the younger generation finds very popular.
With this information, go out and demo the sites to see which best fit with your marketing and communication goals. If you would like to have a more in-depth conversation about social media, please connect with me. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and Snapchat.