What is social media? That is the question for which the answer often eludes most individuals, especially traditional entrepreneurs and small business owners. Is social media Facebook? Is Facebook social media? What about all the other platforms like Twitter and Instagram? Are they social media? Let’s find out the answer together, shall we?
Social media is a phrase that has become synonymous, quite frankly, with Facebook. In fact, one can argue that the birth of Facebook was also the birth of the term social media. Perhaps that is where the confusion stems from.
The meaning of social media, however, is far more sophisticated than that. Social media is much more than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on. Although the term is often used to refer or describe what people are posting on those popular networks, social media actually encompasses all those websites and applications.
Here’s what you need to know.
The phrase is comprised of two words, “social” and “media.” If you figure out the meaning of each of those words individually, you’ll get a better picture of what it all means.
The word “social” refers to the process of interaction between individuals. In the context of social media, being social means the exchange of thoughts and information among individuals and groups of individuals.
The word “media,” on the other hand, refers to the channel or the platform being used during the information-sharing process. In the context of social media, the media being used is the Internet and the various websites and applications that promote the process of socializing.
By this logic, social media is not just Facebook. Any website, software application, or platform that enables individuals to congregate, share their thoughts and experiences, and connect with each other can be considered social media.
With the Internet comes websites that provide a wide range of information and caters to various needs, from entertainment to instructional guides and news articles. This also includes websites that serve as a platform for web-based interaction and communication, known as social networks. This is what we now know as Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, etc.
So now that you have a better understanding of what social media is, you might be wondering what all this has to do with running a successful business. Do you really need social media to market your local business?
How Your Local Business Can Benefit from Social Media
You know how your local business, big or small, can benefit from social media? It all boils down to this: cheap and effective marketing. Marketing is a crucial element in any business regardless of what type or what industry you are in.
In the past, there are three basic avenues that most businesses often use for marketing, TV, radio, and print.
But guess what?
Not everyone can afford to buy TV spots. Some brands may have a target audience that doesn’t necessarily listen to radio or read the papers. But do you know where most people are these days? What they are doing? They’re online, surfing the web or on social media.
As an entrepreneur, if you want to market your services or your products, you have to go where your target consumers are. Even if you do business locally, marketing through social media can still benefit you.
When used properly and integrated seamlessly into a company’s marketing efforts, social media can be a cost-effective and efficient marketing vehicle that will propel your business to the next level. Here are some of the key benefits of social media with regards to your business:
- It promotes brand awareness
- It enhances customer service
- It provides insight to market trends
- It helps you understand your target audience
- It helps promote better engagement with your target audience
- It enhances user experience
- It helps increase traffic to your business website
- It provides a strong line of communication between buyer and seller
- It helps build lasting relationships based on trust
These are just a few of the benefits that can be had from your business investing in social media. If you want to stay ahead or catch up to your competitors, start planning your social media marketing strategy now.