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what is social media?

January 20, 2011

A precise definition of social media is difficult to find, as various people have ideas about its distinct meaning. Generally, the term is used to describe the various ways that people are interacting online. Social media represents a shift in online activity. It used to be that users went online to view content. Now users are creating and engaging on the internet.

Examples of social media include the well-known Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. The term also encompasses lesser known tools such as Reddit, Vimeo, and Care2.

What does this mean for small businesses?

Marta Kagan’s slideshow provides a good overview of social media and how it can be useful to businesses.

Many small businesses are already using social media, in part because it is a trendy topic and most services are free. While having a social media presence is great, I challenge small businesses to give some thought towards why they are using social media, and what they hope to gain from it. Once you have established your goals, you can work to really engage with your customers using social media, to develop relationships. The best way to do this is by creating a thoughtful social media strategy to outline how your goals will be met.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Michele Y. permalink
    January 20, 2011 10:32 pm

    Great post! I really liked the slideshow as well…..couldn’t agree more with the comments about truly interacting withyour customers via social media. I see a lot of companies using it to just blast stuff out to people, but there’s no clear way for communication in the other direction. I appreciate a company who uses their social media tools to both share information, and take information back in. I also think the idea of a social media plan is often overlooked – what do you mean to accomplish via social media – a very important question to answer. And I think having the answer to this question helps a business better target their customers and make the interactions more valuable to both parties.

    Awesome info!

  2. Annie permalink
    January 23, 2011 4:35 pm

    I liked this slideshow… it gives some concrete steps on how to get started in social media and what your expectations should be.

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