What is Social Media?
These days, we hear a lot about social media, but what exactly is it? What is Social Media? Well, it is what’s name implies. It’s a type of medium which caters to social interaction, and the formation of online social communities.
Furthermore, social media is an intangible concept in the sense that its users are as essential to its existence as the website or brand that acts as the medium. In this sense, social media is defined user generated activity, because without that activity, there would be no social interaction on the site.
It’s worth remembering, for example, that anyone can join a social media community, and it’s usually free. This is the reason why social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter have exploded into popularity since the past decade. It connects people in ways that are profoundly different from any other medium in the past, including Web 1.0 websites.
One easy way to look at social media is to look at it like the online version of a park. Parks are generally open to the public, and people who visit them generally group themselves into their own communities.
Without these people and communities, however, parks would just be large open spaces with a lot of flowers and trees. Likewise, without its vast network of members, Facebook and Twitter would be just be a couple of ordinary websites on the internet.
This characteristic is what makes social media truly different from other types of medium. No other media in the past is based exclusively on interaction, and it is this interaction which makes social media sites truly unique from other types of websites on the internet.
Here are some of the most popular Social Media Sites; Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Instagram and Blogger
The Features of Social Media
To better define what social media is, it’s important to identify some of it’s features and what they offer to their users. Here are several useful examples:
Social Media Marketing – Social Media Sites have become a popular and successful way to market a business or product. Social sites like Twitter and Facebook have millions of visitors each day. This give you a tremendous marketing advantage to offer your product or business to these visitors. You can create a Twitter account or create a Facebook page and add your website address. You can also post interesting photos and information about your business.
Decentralization – Social Media is an inherently decentralized medium. No one can dictate what a social media community can say or do, except by consensus of its members. A good example of this are the self-regulating communities online. Sure, there are moderators, but online social communities are defined by the input of its members.
Spontaneity – Another important feature of social media is that it’s inherently spontaneous. If a particular community or group enjoys a particular meme, new item, video or image then it will go viral. Tapping into this spontaneity and using it to maximum effect is one of the key components of social media marketing.
Open Access – Unlike older websites which required fees and memberships, social media is defined by open access. Anyone can join, and anyone can leave. For companies and businesses, the open access nature of social media makes it a very lucrative market for advertizing and promotion. This is how social media marketing developed in the first place.
Tips For Using Social Media Sites To Earn An Income
The value of social media for people who wish generate online income is its access to several markets. Social media communities and groups are basically synonymous with online markets. For example, let’s say that you’re selling insect repellants. If this is the case then you can help promote your products by joining Facebook’s hiking or camping communities, since they’re the type of people who are most likely to buy your products.
Likewise, if your company is selling sports and fitness equipment then you should advertizing your products on Twitter’s many fitness or athletic communities in order get you the market you need.
It’s also worth mentioning that unlike traditional internet marketing methods, you no longer need to create your site or put out large amounts of articles in order to promote your business through social media. All you have to do is to stay very active in a particular community, and the rest will take care of itself.
Because of these features, social media marketing is less capital intensive than other forms of marketing. The downside, however, is that it’s also more labor intensive. Promoting products and businesses through sites, like Facebook or Twitter, requires regular, consistent posts in order to maintain the attention of the audience.
Despite these challenges, however, tapping into a social media market is relatively easy and once your business has become suitably popular, your social media marketing campaign will produce fantastic results.