Is social media the sum total of facebookand twitter? Must you have an account inthese sites?If you thought so, you had better brush upyour social media IQ Read on…
What is social media When you say social media, you refer to communication tools or websites that act as a platform for fast exchange of information. The exchange is mostly two-way or multiple-way. It is mostly instant, and spreads fast. It is mostly free of cost.
Social media vs social networking Social media is basically the platform and tools for information sharing, while social networking is engagement, relationships. Social media includes all such platforms/tools that allow sharing of information and also cross-communication, while social networking can work only on platforms that allow instant ‘networking’.
contd… Blogs, networking sites, bookmarking sites, app based cross-communication tools, photo-sharing etc make the universe of social media. Popular social networking sites at present are Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
What platforms? New platforms are emerging every now and then, and these fast replace or undermine the existing ones. Facebook is great for engagement with clients, peers, employees, students etc. Twitter is great for broadcasting new happenings about yourself or your brand. Pinterest is great if you want people to see photos; so it suits quite well areas like fashion and design.
contd… Linkedin is great for building professional networks. Photo sharing sites such as Picasa and Flikr can be used for photo sharing directly, and on blogs and websites. Blogs are great any time. Blogs complement other social media very well. Blogs also have more permanent value and serious appeal than social networking sites.
Which one? There are numerous social media platforms available, free as well as paid. Go for as many as you can handle and whichever are relevant to you. It is bad to have no social media presence, but it is worse not to run a social media property professionally.
How many? Do not run after numbers: number of comments on blogs or blog readers; search- engine stats; followers; likes; friends… Numbers can be highly misleading, even dangerous especially on social networks. Your ‘followers’ might be your bitter critics in reality. ‘Retweets’ might take your gaffe far and wide… Value those numbers that have value: clients who’ll buy your product; real friends; people with similar interest…
Is social media right for me? The platform / tool, if not appropriate, will only drain your time, energy and money. Also, do not have a social media presence just to look progressive. Bulk SMS or email could be a much better means of communication with your clients in certain situations.
Security Information about you on social media platforms and tools is often open – available to all. Most providers of these services give options to divulge information about yourself or your brand / organisation. Decide how much to reveal. Review this aspect often.
Engagement Care for feedback. Engage. Social media is not for those who want to live in a secluded island. Keep a goal of engagement even for your personal social account.
Social media is but a platform Social media (and social networking sites) is just a new means of engagement. It is a fresh medium and has many possibilities. But it cannot substitute sincerity in engagement, good service, usefulness of a product and other intrinsic values that a relationship / brand / product has.