Social media is a phrase you hear a lot these days, there is no escaping it. From status updates on Facebook, tweets on Twitter, viral videos on youTube and lately pins on Pinterest, social media is fast changing and takes on many different forms, including social networking sites like Facebook, blogs and microblogs like Twitter and WordPress, content communities like YouTube and Flickr, podcasts, wikis, etc. to name a few. But what exactly is Social Media?
The Academic definition:
Social media consists of online tools and websites that encourage people to interact with companies, brands, and people and form communities by creating, publishing, and sharing content. Social media is a two-way communication stream, whereas with traditional media, messaging is published through a one-way communication stream to the masses, e.g. radio, television and newspaper.
An easier way of explaining it is to break it down. Media is an instrument on communication, like a newspaper or a radio, so social media would be a social instrument of communication.
- It is not just a broadcast channel, it is about conversations, community, connecting with personalities and building relationships.
- It is about authenticity, honesty and open dialogue
- It not only allows you to hear what people say about you, but enables you to respond. Listen first, speak second.
SHOULD YOU CONSIDER SOCIAL MEDIA?
Advertising can be very one-dimensional. A business that only talks to its customers when they have an offer (one way communication) quickly loses their following. For a business to be truly successful, it has to listen first and speak second.
Social media provides that platform to join in the conversation, and speak to customers in a less formal manner, allowing your business to really delve in and identify their behavior, opinions, likes and dislikes. With applications like Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest etc. there is an endless stream of information you can gather to be able to effectively use social media marketing to market your product.
With this information your business can now accurately tailor products and services to meet your clients’ needs.
DO YOU HAVE THE TIME TO MANAGE A SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL
Running a successful social media marketing campaign takes dedication and time. You have to maintain a regular posting schedule and frequency that fits in with your objectives. You also have to listen and engage with your fans and followers. By first determining what your goals are, and assessing how valuable social media is in reaching them, you can determine how to allocate your time and resources.
In summary, social media offers a fresh and simple way for businesses to conduct direct relationships with their customers. Done right, a company can access the benefits of social media and listen to customer interactions that help proactively resolve customer complaints and generate new product leads. This all helps in the overall strategy of managing trust and transparency and attaining a more engaged, inspired and loyal customer base, that can be converted into customers.