Social media includes the various online technology tools that enable people to communicate easily via the internet to share information and resources. Social media can include text, audio, video, images, podcasts, and other multimedia communications.Social media can be used effectively to help promote events, products and your business by keeping you in the minds of others as a source for purchasing your products or services. It contributes to brand building, name recognition and increases your visibility. It allows you to stay in touch with your customers and potential customers as often as you wish. Some social media platforms that work for the business community are:
- Facebook is arguably the most important of the social media platform. Since its launch in February 2004, it has attracted more than one billion active users worldwide, 655 million of whom are active daily users. Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Once you have a profile, you can create a business page, where your business can share news, updates and information with its followers.
- Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service, enabling its users to send and read messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters (although, photos also can be included) displayed on the user’s profile page. Tweets are publicly visible by default, however senders can restrict message delivery to their followers. Users may subscribe to other users’ tweets—this is known as following and subscribers are known as followers. Twitter offers a great way for businesses and business owners to communicate directly with customers, potential customers and other interested followers. It’s also a good way to keep up with industry trends by following other relevant Twitter users.
- LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 255 million members in more than 200 countries and territories. More than half of LinkedIn’s members are located outside of the United States. LinkedIn is an ideal site for job seekers, and therefore, employers. There were nearly two billion people searches on LinkedIn in 2010. More than 2.7 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages (formerly known as company profiles).
- Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. By “checking in” via a smartphone app or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual badges. Foursquare guides real-world experiences by allowing users to bookmark information about venues that they want to visit and surfacing relevant suggestions about nearby venues. Its value to businesses is in allowing merchants and brands leverage the foursquare platform by utilizing a wide set of tools to obtain, engage, and retain customers and audiences.