Social Media – What’s it All About?

“Social media uses the collective; the wisdom of the crowd; it is seldom entirely wrong. In fact, more often then not, it is more than reasonably accurate and therefore constitutes a measurable, track-able feedback point with regard to the acceptance and performance of your product or service”. Dave Evans, Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day, 2008

Social Media – what is it? And why do I need to know about it?

There’s a lot of talk these days about social media and it seems like something we should ignore and leave to the kids but from a marketing perspective we could be losing out on a huge opportunity and let’s face it – these kids one day will be the one’s buying our products.

Social Medias depend on interactions between people using technology as a conduit and can take many different forms, including blogs & micro blogs, discussion forums, wikis, podcasts, rating and bookmarking.

Technologies include picture & music sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging and crowdsourcing to name a few. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network platforms like Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

Social media has been touted as presenting a fresh direction for marketing by allowing companies to talk with consumers, as opposed to talking at them. But what does it all mean? Below is a synopsis of the language used in Social Media and short definitions to help you make head or tail of it all.

Social Media Glossary

Blogs are a type of website with regular entries. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal diary. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

Bookmarking is the act of saving a favourite website to your computer. By saving a website you can access it easily again and again through a menu in your web browser. Alternatively you can use a site like delicious to save it online so that others can also access your bookmarks. You can also tag and rate sites that others may find useful.

Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a task traditionally performed by one and outsourcing it to a group of people or a community in the form of an open call on-line.

Forums are an online discussion group. Forums attract people with similar interests and by participating in a group can cultivate social bonds.

Email is a method of exchanging digital messages and majority of businesses & households have email addresses – good for direct mail marketing.

Facebook is a global social networking website. Besides keeping track of friends, users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school or region. A January 2009 study has ranked Facebook as the most used social network with currently more than 300 million active users worldwide.

File-sharing is the online practice of distributing or providing access to digitally stored information, such as computer programs, multi-media (audio, video), documents, or electronic books.

Instant Messaging (IM) is a form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text.

LinkedIn is a Professional network service and as of July 2009[update], it had more than 43 million registered users, spanning 170 industries. The purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. This list of connections can then be used in a number of ways:

Can be used to gain an introduction to someone a person wishes to know through a mutual, trusted contact.
It can then be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one’s contact network.

Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates.
Job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce them.

Microblogs are smaller in actual size then the traditional blog. A single entry could consist of a single sentence or fragment or an image or a brief, ten second video. Users microblog about any given topic and are a great way to share news about a company’s products and services.

Micro Blogging allows users to send brief text updates or micromedia such as photos or audio clips and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, digital audio or the web.

Podcasts are a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and downloaded through web syndication. The mode of delivery is what differentiates podcasts from other ways of accessing media files. New files can be downloaded and stored locally on the user’s computer or other device for offline use when they feel like it.

Rating Sites are websites designed for users to vote on or rate people or content. The challenge is to have content that is highly rated in order to drive positive traffic.

Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet. Add a web cam and you can both see and speak with someone who might be next door or around the world.

Social Network Services focus on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services.. buy youtube social shares

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