“Social media is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, content-sharing, interaction, and collaboration.”
Here are some prominent examples of the social media:
- Facebook is a popular free social networking website that allows registered users to create his own profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family, and colleagues. According to statistics from the Nielsen Group, Internet users within the United States spend more time on the Facebook than any other website.
Twitter is a free microblogging service that allows registered members to broadcast short posts that called tweets. Twitter members can broadcast tweets and follow other users’ tweets by using multiple devices and platforms.
- Google+ (pronounced Google plus) is Google’s social networking project, which designed to replicate the way people interact offline more closely than is the case in other social networking services
- Wikipedia is a free, open content online encyclopedia created through the collaborative effort of a community of users known as the Wikipedian’s. Anyone registered on this site and can create an article for publication; registration is not required to edit articles. Wikipedia was founded in the January of 2001.
- Linked-In is a social networking site designed specifically for the whole business community. The goal of this site is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally.
- Reddit is a social news website and forum where stories are socially curated and promoted by the site members. The site is composed of hundreds of sub-communities, known as “the subreddits.” Each subreddit has a specific topic such as politics, technology or music. Reddit site members, also known as, “the redditors,” submit content which is then voted upon by the other members.The goal is to send the well-regarded stories to the top of the site’s main thread page.
- Pinterest is a social curation website for the sharing and categorizing images found online. Pinterest requires brief descriptions but the main focus of this site is visual. Clicking on the image will take you to the original source, so, for example, if you click on a picture of a pair of shoes, you might be taken to a site where you can purchase them. An image of the blueberry pancakes might take you to the recipe; a picture of a whimsical birdhouse might take you to the instructions.
Brian Solis created the following social media chart which known as the conversation prism, to categorize social sites and services into various types of social media. (See a larger image)
Social media is becoming an integral part of online life as social websites and the applications proliferate. Most traditional online media include the social components, such as comment fields for users. In business, social media is used to promote brands, market products, connect to current customers and foster new business. Social media analytics is the practice of gathering data from the blogs and social media websites and analyzing that data to make business decisions. The most common use of social media analytics is to mine customer sentiment to the support marketing and customer service activities.
Social media marketing (SMM) takes advantage of social networking to help a company increase the brand exposure and broaden customer reach. The goal is usually to create content compelling enough that users will share it with their social media networks.
One of the key components of the SMM is social media optimization (SMO). Like search engine optimization (SEO), SMO is a strategy for drawing unique and new visitors to a website. SMO can be done two ways: by adding social media links to content such as RSS feeds and sharing buttons, or by promoting activity through tweets, social media via status updates, or blog posts.
Social media is also often used for the crowdsourcing. Customers can use social networking sites to offer ideas for future products or tweaks to the current ones. In IT projects, crowdsourcing usually involves engaging and blending the business and IT services from a mix of internal and external providers, sometimes with input from customers or the general public.
On the other hand, the integration of social media in the business world can also pose the challenges. Social media policies are designed to set expectations for appropriate behavior and ensure that an employee’s posts will not expose the company to public embarrassment or legal problems. Such policies include the directives for when an employee should identify himself as a representative of the company on a social networking website, as well as rules for what types of the information can be shared.