The Basics of Social Media

What is Social Media?

Social media is a web based communication system which allows people to create online communities and networks in order to share information, personal messages, pictures, videos, articles, news or other kinds of information.

Social media allows those people to connect with each other and to brands or companies, which creates an easier, faster and more open communication process between them.

Businesses of all sizes utilize social media to share and monitor information about their products, services, market and new trends across different social media channels.
While monitoring social media, it is important to understand that it extends beyond traditional social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but also to forums, blogs, and new articles.

Why is Social Media Important?

Social media has many advantages for individuals and businesses in general, and it helps to achieve certain strategic goals in a more affordable way.

Social media for businesses involves a more direct method of communication with consumers, which allows businesses to learn about and connect with them. Ultimately, this can lead to improvements in aspects like:

  • Customer service: Social media helps with understanding the needs of the customers and future prospects. Businesses can get almost immediate feedback and quickly act in response to it. Social media educates customers on certain topics of interest such as sharing an article or an ebook that would be beneficial for them.
  • Business awareness: Social media lets companies share their expertise through different channels with the objective of increasing their social reach [Link to social reach article]. This enables them to spread information about the business itself and the solutions that a company can offer to future prospects.
  • Online reputation: Social proof, also known as social influence, allows businesses to show transparency across social media channels about their services or products through mentions, hashtags or opinions from consumers. This allows businesses to increase their brand advocates and brand loyalty.

Tracking the performance on social media channels is crucial for businesses, therefore they should know the importance of social monitoring [Link to Social Monitoring article], as this is the process of gathering data where users are generating content across social media channels or in any other public area of the web.

By tracking certain metrics on social networks like social engagement or social reach, businesses can also compare their activities with their competitors'. For example, they can measure the impact of a new video campaign, the promotions they are offering, or the opinion of their customers.

What can you achieve with Social Media?

Social media is a great way to achieve certain objectives for a business in specific areas like:

  • Marketing: launching new campaigns or products in a cheaper way
    Customer service: interacting with people and reading mentions given by them [Link to mentions article in university]
  • Sales: generating more leads
  • Human resources: attracting new talent

Social media allows businesses to reach new local and global audiences due to the ease of communicating and networking through photos, videos, website links or updates about their new products. They can also share product content and updates on a global level in a cheaper way than any form of advertising available nowadays. Furthermore, they can spread and monitor news in their market easily. 

Amount of US Dollars needed to reach 1,000 people

Amount of US Dollars needed to reach 1,000 people Source: LinkedIn

Social media is one the most cost efficient and easiest channels to communicate and interact with people. This web based communication has helped websites of all kinds attract more traffic, understand their audience, generate more sales in a cheaper way than traditional advertising channels, spy on their competitors, and to reach new markets.

Who uses Social Media?

Social media is one of the main communication channels that exist in the world. The users of social media can be from any social class, gender, age, education level or geographical location. Recent studies showed that in 2016:

  • 79% of Internet users use Facebook
  • 38% of Instagram users earn less than $30K/ year
  • 50% of LinkedIn users have a college degree
  • 25% of Twitter users are women

Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, India and Brazil are in the top 10 in usage on four of the most popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Google Plus)

Every social media network is different, but the principles that are always present are: users like to stay up to date with recents events and news, share opinions, share unique content (like pictures or videos), and create networking.

The popularity and usage of every social media network varies; some of them involve more personal related content like Facebook or Instagram, and others are more professionally related like LinkedIn. But the key element of social media is that is made for everyone. Thus, it's importance lies in its worldwide usage.