Social media are online interactive technologies which allow the generation or sharing/ exchange of ideas, interests, opinions, and other types of expression through virtual communities and online networks. Social media allow users to share personal information, such as blogs, photos, videos, and messages with other people who are members of the same online community. These online communities or networks can include millions of users, from all walks of life including business professionals, college students, children, parents, coworkers, celebrities, sports enthusiasts and social media junkies. Some popular social media include Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube and FriendFeed.
There are several benefits to engaging in social media. One is that it allows you to build and maintain relationships with others, which in turn will create brand loyalty, word of mouth buzz, and even generate traffic to your website. It also allows users to exchange ideas, experiences, stories, news, or trivia and creates a one-of-a-kind environment for social media junkies. The key to this type of networking is to engage in conversations with other members and listen to what they have to say. Another advantage is that the sharing or transmission of this content requires virtually no start up cost, and can reach millions of people within minutes of being created.
To maximize the opportunities for social media, it is important to choose the most appropriate platform for marketing your product or service. There are four main social media platforms available to businesses: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Friendfeed. Each platform has unique features that make it appealing to different types of marketers and users. When choosing a platform, it is important to choose one that will support your marketing objectives, as not every platform is built for the same purpose.