With social marketing becoming more and more of a buzzword, many people are asking what’s exactly social media? This confusion is caused by the fact that so many websites and applications fall under this category. Which is why people ask, if Twitter and Facebook are included and Wikipedia and Flixster as well, what exactly is social media?
What it is and what it is not
The term media refers to the means by which people communicate and obtain information. Social media is media that is used for social interaction. Since interaction is a two-way street, information must also flow from readers back to the content creator. This means that anything that provides information on a one-way street, such as newspapers that only move information from creator to consumer, will not qualify. Although interaction is becoming a feature of traditional media such as newspapers and magazines, it is still not at the level of interaction seen online. For this reason, the term social media is typically applied only to web-based and mobile technologies designed to encourage the creation and interchange of user-generated content.
So, what’s exactly social media? It is websites whose content is user-generated and that invites responses in the form of comments, ratings, or votes. This definition includes the following:
1. Social bookmarking sites such as Del.icio.us, Simpy and Blinklis which pool user-bookmarked sites togethe;
2. Social networking sites such as Friendster, Multiply, Hi5, and Facebook where people can build a network of friends, post comments, and join discussions;
3. Social photo and video sharing sites such as Flickr and YouTube where users can share videos and photos;
4. Social news sites such as Reddit, Digg, Propeller and Reddit where users vote for and comment on articles; and wiki sites such as Wikipedia and Wikia where users can create and edit content.
Its importance in social marketing
What’s exactly social media is an excellent vehicle for social marketing. This is why businesses are often advised to incorporate it in their internet marketing campaigns because they have opened a new channel to find contacts and nurture them and get free publicity from being liked and recommended by community users. In addition to network building, the credibility gained from these websites are collected by search engines as social signals that can help businesses and individuals boost the page rank of their main business websites.
What’s exactly social media? It is what will help you gain credibility, boost your page rank, encourage traffic, increase sales and improve profitability. It is exactly what your business needs.