WHAT, HOW & WHY Social Media

October 1, 2015

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Kumar Pushpak

Business Manager

I was recently engaged in a conversation with a CEO of a global firm and the outcome of it was shocking!!

Like many of us he too doesn’t realize the potential of SOCIAL MEDIA in today`s business landscape. But this inspired me to research on WHAT, HOW & WHY Social media.

Social media has become firmly ingrained in consumer’s daily lives. From browsing the internet to downloading apps in search of recommended bars and restaurants, Hospitals, Hotels, Clothing and what not? Consumers expect to be able to interact with their favorite brands when they’re out and about, and while many businesses may have initially dismissed social media as a fad, it is proving its commercial potential.

An essential consideration is how social media has become embedded in everyday life, with over 60% of people making use of social media platforms at least once a day. While purchasing through social media sites is still in its infancy, the channel’s ability to influence consumer decisions is significant. Consumers commenting and providing feedback on brands, companies and experiences means that social media has a powerful impact on businesses even if they don’t have an official social media presence. 

So WHAT is Social Media?

In simple term – It`s a combination of websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. 

Here are some prominent examples of social media:

  • Facebook is a popular free social networking website that allows registered users to create 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 Facebook than any other website.
  • Youtube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.
  • Twitter is a free microblogging service that allows registered members to broadcast short posts called tweets. Twitter members can broadcast tweets and follow other users' tweets by using multiple platforms and devices.
  • Google+ (pronounced Google plus) is Google`s social networking project, designed to replicate the way people interact offline more closely than is the case in other social networking services. The project’s slogan is “Real-life sharing rethought for the web.”
  • Wekipedia is a free, open content online encyclopedia created through the collaborative effort of a community of users known as Wikipedians. Anyone registered on the site can create an article for publication; registration is not required to edit articles. Wikipedia was founded in January of 2001.
  • LinkedIN is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community. The goal of the 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 site members. The site is composed of hundreds of sub-communities, known as "subreddits." Each subreddit has a specific topic such as technology, politics or music. Reddit site members, also known as, "redditors," submit content which is then voted upon by other members. The goal is to send well-regarded stories to the top of the site's main thread page.
  • Pinterest is a social curation website for sharing and categorizing images found online. Pinterest requires brief descriptions but the main focus of the site is visual. Clicking on an 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 blueberry pancakes might take you to the recipe; a picture of a whimsical birdhouse might take you to the instructions. 

Twitter is an effective tool for customer service and new content distribution. Facebook has a more personal feel, and Pinterest is all about the visual. It’s essential that firms adjust their message to suit the intricacies of the various platforms. Even tone of voice should be tweaked appropriately.

Social media has experienced phenomenal growth over the past few years and has changed the business landscape. In my next post I will try to answer the HOW part of my research. 

Thank you for reading.

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