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What is Social Media?

Social media refers to computer-mediated tools that allow people or companies to create, share, or exchange information, career interests, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks.

The three common features of social media include:
  • Internet-based applications
  • User-generated content
  • User-generated profiles (including key demographics related to the platform)
Social media facilitate the development of online social networks by connecting a user's profile with those of other individuals and/or groups. Social media depend on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content.

They introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between businesses, organizations, communities, and individuals. These changes are the focus of the emerging field of technoself studies. Social media differ from traditional or industrial media in many ways, including quality, reach, frequency, usability, immediacy, and permanence.

Social media operate in a dialogic transmission system (many sources to many receivers). This is in contrast to traditional media that operates under a monologic transmission model (one source to many receivers).

Why is Social Media Important?

There are 7 key reasons why social media is important to an organization marketing products and/or services online. These reason are:
  1. Learn about your customers and connect with your audience
  2. Reach current and new customers/prospects locally & globally
  3. Create a new channel to review & improve customer service
  4. Gain market share by marketing your products/services to a new (or larger) audience
  5. Create meaningful relationships that generate leads through common interests
  6. An affordable way to increase brand awareness
  7. Establish your business as an industry expert and expand your professional network

Managing Social Media Channels / Social
Media Marketing?

When setting up social media, it is important to realize the audience that you intend to reach. For instance, LinkedIn is typically a better platform for recruiting than YouTube. However, YouTube could prove a better platform for illustrating product features (or instructions). Another example is the aging demographic of Facebook may be a better place to reach parents looking for colleges for their children while Pinterest may work better for marketing straightforward products such as apparel.

Regardless of the channel or channels chosen for a social media campaign, the imaging and messaging needs to be consistent. AI Software works with clients to create this consistency and execute accordingly. In addition, AI Software offers technology (through FlexSite CMS) to stay on top of changes in social media protocol (such as Facebook Open Graph & Twitter Cards) as requirements change.

Here is a quick rundown of some of the more popular social media platforms and a quick description of how you may use them within your web presence:

Facebook | AI SoftwareFacebook is right for you... if you are building a community presence or want to reach as broad a network as possible. It is losing some traction among younger users, but with more than 70 percent of online adults actively participating in Facebook, it remains the most popular social media site by far. Not only does it have the most users, it is the most-frequently used, which demonstrates a high level of engagement. Sheer popularity may not be your primary criteria, however. Given that the primary reason people are so engaged with Facebook is to connect with family and friends, it may not provide the most effective medium for your business message.
Linkedin | AI SoftwareLinkedIn is right for you... if you are in B2B or in another industry or role in which you can provide useful insights to people thinking about their work, seeking to make business connections, or looking for their next job. While LinkedIn is trying to broaden the scope of its information, most users are in work mode on LinkedIn so it is optimal for peer networking and industry-specific information. Given the high income and education levels of the average LinkedIn user, it offers a distinct audience worth targeting with the right message.
Pinterest is right for you... Pinterest | AI Softwareif you are in a highly visual industry with customers who will naturally seek to express themselves through images. However it can also work in areas that you might not consider visual at first glance. Think about your audience and their interests. Are they likely to collect images that will inform their product or service buying decisions? Are they deeply interested in a subject that can be visually represented? Given Pinterest's particular popularity among women, it is also the place to be if that is your market target. Inspire and inform them on Pinterest and you can create real engagement.
Twitter | AI SoftwareTwitter is right for you... if you want to reach both men and women, especially younger ones. It is also particularly appealing to "information junkies" so if your business lends itself to the provision of topic-based news or timely insights, Twitter is a great choice. As with Facebook, Twitter is more effective when it is a two-way platform in which you respond to and engage with followers.
Instagram | AI SoftwareInstagram is right for you... if, like Pinterest, you have a visual aspect to what you do and what your customers are interested in. Interestingly, its users also often overlap with Twitter so it can be good as part of a one-two punch. Given Instagram's appeal to specific ethnic segments and its popularity among urbanites, it can be a good choice for certain market targets

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