What is Social Media?

These days the media is a buzz with stories about Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools. But what exactly is social media?

Social media are tools or sites on the Internet where people and companies go to congregate, communicate and collaborate. They include: blogs , podcasts, video sites (BlipTV), social networks (like Facebook, MySpace), micro blogs (like Twitter and Pownce), photo sites (Flickr), bookmarking sites (Stumble Upon, Digg) or any other site where you can ineract and share with others in real time.

I am from Britian so I like to use the real world pub analogy. A pub is a place where people go to get together over a drink with others and to make new friends, to share their exploits, to show their stuff and to talk about whats happening in world around them.

Social media hubs are the same concept but in the virtual world: places online where people go (via their computer or smart phone) to get together with people they know, tell them about what they are doing, show what they can do, meet new people and to share their knowledge.

From a business perspective, social media is a great marketing tool as it gives you access to millions of people across the globe but as with any other tool you use to grow your business, it is important that you know what you are doing, that you understand who you are trying to reach, what your goals are from using these technologies, which technologies to use to ensure maximum impact. In short, you need a strategy. Don’t just run around like a headless chicken trying to maintain a presence in every social media you hear about. Plot your own course. Know why you are using the tool in question and what you want to achieve from doing so.

If you don’t take time to consider your social media strategy in advance and implement it correctly you can end up wasting a lot of time or worse you can seriously damage your marketing efforts.

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