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Social Media 101

Welcome to a crash course in social media! This post is an exercise in defining social media and some of the popular outlets playing together in the cyber sandbox. Let’s begin with some definitions:
Social media includes web- and mobile-based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals.
Simply stated, it helps people (and businesses) stay in touch with each other via interactive mediums.
So what’s even out there?
There are many existing social mediums with more popping up every day. Not all are appropriate for business purposes, but it’s good to keep an eye on what’s available to the public and how it impacts consumers in your current and future target audiences:
Facebook: [www.facebook.com] is a social network service and website with more than 500 million active users, which is about one person for every fourteen in the world. Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common interest user groups, organized by workplace, school, or college, or other characteristics.
Twitter: [www.twitter.com] is a website which offers a social networking and microblogging service, enabling its users to send and read other users’ messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the user’s profile page. Users may subscribe to other author tweets—this is known as following and subscribers are known as followers.
You Tube: [www.youtube.com] is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos.
LinkedIn: [www.linkedin.com] is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. LinkedIn reports more than 150 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories.
foursquare: [www.foursquare.com] is a location-based social networking website for mobile devices, such as smartphones. Users “check in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by selecting from a list of venues the application locates nearby. Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges”.
Instagram: [www.instagram.com] is a free photo sharing program that allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter to it and then share it on a variety of social networking services, including Instagram’s own site. A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images.
Pinterest: [www.pinterest.com] is a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration, ‘re-pin’ images to their own collections or ‘like’ photos. Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting” via a global platform of inspiration and idea sharing.
How do I connect with my customers?
So now that you can pass a social media quiz, how will you integrate the appropriate mediums into your current or future marketing mix? Since there are so many social media sites available, which ones are best suited to reach your target audience? For the audiological industry, 35% of your target audiences of 65+ are already using social media, but to interact with their friends and family, not necessarily businesses – just yet. As a business owner, this gives you time to research and develop a targeted strategy.
Remember, traditional direct response channels (direct mail, newspaper and telemarketing) are still producing positive ROI, so the majority of your marketing budget should be earmarked for these efforts. The next step, if you haven’t already begun, is to develop/refine your digital marketing strategy, including a strong website presence with SEO/SEM integrated. While moving forward with your current marketing tactics and working on your website, start thinking ahead about how social media can benefit your business!
Have questions or interested in learning if integrating social media into your marketing mix is right for you? Contact marketing at marketing@cq-partners.com.