What is Social Media?

A lot has changed from the days of the dial-up modem! The online world is now the place to go for information, commerce and entertainment, and it’s also full of ways for the average person to communicate and share with friends, family, the general public, and even celebrities. The way we do that is with social media.

Social media is any web-based (meaning accessible via the Internet) platform for interacting and networking.

That may sound like a very broad definition, and it is. It includes everything from forums, blogging sites, wikis, crowdsourcing sites and social networks. In a world where people all over the globe can interact with each other if they have an internet connection, social media platforms are the tools we use to do so.

The beauty of social media is that you don’t just consume information, you are allowed and encouraged to produce information and add to the conversation.

For example, if you are on a website like Reddit, you can view a news story, comment on it and see what other people are saying all in one place.

Because of this ability to interact on these social platforms where we get our news (or fake news 🙂 and entertainment, social media has become where internet users spend most of our time when we’re online.

Why Do We Spend All Our Time on Social Media?

In many ways, social media is much better than traditional media like radio, television, or print for finding and consuming information for the reasons listed below.

  1. Quality: The quality of the information you find on the internet varies from excellent to absolute garbage. The key to finding quality information is your peers. On social media, your community helps you sort through what is true and valuable, and what is not.
  2. Permanence: What goes online, stays online. Yes, things can get lost in the clutter, but you can find information, messages, posts, profiles, etc. if you dig deep enough. This is important because it keeps news sources accountable.
  3. Reach: Social media has an unbelievably huge reach. Hundreds of millions of people use popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter every day. One story shared through friends and acquaintances can be viewed by millions of people in a short time, while a newscast on TV can only be viewed by people who tune into a specific channel at a certain time of day. Also, because of its permanence, you can find information long after it was first published.
  4. Frequency and Immediacy: Unlike traditional media like a newspaper that usually only comes out once a day, on social media, news comes out as it happens. That’s why social media has become an essential tool for disaster response. It helps people stay informed, find lost loved ones, interact with authorities, and offer support. Read about How Social Media Is Changing Disaster Response here.
  5. Usability: Once you get familiar with it, social media is very easy to use. Usually you can just log on and scroll through your newsfeed. It’s also easy to share photos, videos, and communicate.

What are the Features of Social Media?

With such a broad definition, it can be hard to tell which sites are considered social media platforms. Here are some of their features:

  • You can create an account: sign in and log on
  • You can create and customize your profile
  • There are ways to connect with others: adding friends, following public figures, joining groups
  • Some social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin have news feeds
  • You can post and share things: messages, photos, links, videos
  • You have the ability to post comments and opinions or express approval by “liking” (Facebook), “hearting” (Instagram) or giving something a +1 (Google+)

The Top Social Media Platforms

Even if you don’t use any social media platforms, you’ve probably heard of some of them. Here are the top 7 and what each of them is for.

Facebook

With over a billion users, Facebook is the most popular social media platform. You can use it to create a business profile, connect and share with others, exchange information, advertise and promote your business.

YouTube

YouTube recently broke the billion users mark, making it the second most popular social media site on the internet. You can watch videos, post your own, share videos, leave comments, and more. Click here for more about YouTube and how to use it.

Twitter

On Twitter’s New User FAQ page it says, “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and coworkers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages.” But people usually use Twitter to keep tabs on their local news sources, traffic, celebrities, or subjects they’re interested in.

Linkedin

Linkedin is a great platform for making professional connections. It’s where you can post your work bio, work history, and showcase your areas of expertise (your resume). You can also make connections with people you’ve worked with or would like to work with as well as use LinkedIn as a source for lead generation. Many people write and share articles on Linkedin to share their expertise.

Linkedin has become so popular with employers that they will often ask to see potential employees’ Linkedin profiles as part of the hiring process!

Pinterest

Pinterest is like a virtual corkboard where you can pin things you like and want to save for later. It’s in fifth place in popularity, but more and more people are using it every day. Pinterest is social because you don’t just add to your board(s), you can also like other people’s pins, share pins, comment on pins, and embed pins on your blogs!

Instagram

Instagram is like an online photo album. You can customize your pics before you publish them using Instagram’s filters, which can make for some really stunning pictures. They’re great for showcasing your talents, which is awesome for a business.

Snapchat

Snapchat is up and coming since it’s so huge with millennials. People can create and send out 10 second videos that disappear after they’re watched. If you are looking to sell to people under the age of 30, you want to be on Snapchat. Snapchat is a way for you to tell your brand’s story.

How would you use Social Media for Business?

What if you could use social media to promote and grow your business? Imagine having customers know your brand and your products before ever visiting your store, and when they do visit, they’re already ready to buy!

Social media isn’t just for getting entertained and informed, you can actually use it to build your business! These days, you can find just about any big name brand or business on social media because there are major benefits to it.

Here are 16 ideas you can use to promote your business using social media:

Facebook Tips:

    1. Create Facebook page for your business. Invite all of your friends and ask them to invite their friends to like your page too.
    2. Hold a contest to increase the amount of people who Like your business’s Facebook page. Announce the winner once you hit your goal.
    3. When customers compliment you, ask them to share it or review you on your Facebook business page.
    4. Use your Facebook page to announce new products or services.

Twitter Tips:

    1. Fully fill out your Twitter bio. Name, website, address, contact info, profile pic and cover photo.
    2. Images and videos are extremely popular on Twitter, so if you want something to pop, have it in picture or video form.
    3. Get active with Twitter! It only takes a few minutes a day to browse, like tweets, retweet other people, or favourite someone’s tweet. And don’t be shy about following people.

YouTube Tips:

    1. Make a series of videos to encourage people to subscribe and keep coming back to your channel.
    2. Make sure to have a call to action at the end of the videos like, “Share this on Facebook!” or “Call us today!”
    3. Customize your channel with your company colours and logos, and slogans so that right away, people will know that your page is official.

Linkedin Tips:

    1. Create your Linkedin company page and ask all of your employees to link their profile to the company page.
    2. Create a Linkedin ad and target the exact job titles you would like to connect with.
    3. Be seen as an expert in your field by posting tips, advice, and resources.

Pinterest Tips:

  1. Wondering what to create boards of?
    • Include a board for each product or service.
    • Add a board for your city.
    • Make boards related indirectly to your product or service.
    • Add a board for motivational or funny pins
  2. Find and follow 10 other Pinners relevant to your business. Re-pin 2 of their pins into one of your relevant boards. People like to be re-pinned and they might want to see who likes the things they like.
  3. When people comment on your pins, say something back to them even if it’s just a hello.

Here are some great local Edmonton home trades and contractor businesses who are crushing it on social media:

House of J Interior Design has engaged followers who like and comment on her Facebook posts.

Edmonton’s Pro Plumbing and Heating Twitter account has over 10,000 Followers! These guys are so active on their social media channels. Their posts are show their personality while sprinkling in promotions. They also get conversations going with others.

Crest Roofing’s YouTube channel has lots of videos

Lisa Last, a Mortgage Broker, also has a lot of content on her YouTube channel.

House of J interior Design uses Pinterest not only to showcase gorgeous designs she likes and has done, but also to encourage all of her customers to pin their favourite looks to a shared board where she can review their taste and design aesthetic.

Read about how to use social media as a lively, effective marketing tool in our blog about Social Media Automation.

Get your Business on Social Media!

Do you know someone who doesn’t know what social media is all about? If you do, send them this article or share it with them if they have a social media account.

If you have any questions, don’t be shy! Ask us in the comments below.

nyche marketing can help you get your business online by building your website, setting up your social accounts, and managing them for you. Get in contact with us for information about our marketing services or a quote. We’d love to hear from you!

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