Social media basics are easy to understand once you familiarize yourself with the tools that are available to leverage this new form of marketing. With the rapid growth of the Internet social media has quickly evolved in a way that gives consumers a much greater voice, making it a critical component of any marketing plan. With more and more buyers of products of services turning to the web, it’s important for any businessperson to know the impact social media can have on the success of their business.
Social Media is just like a conversation
Perhaps the simplest way to understand social media basics is to think about it in terms of a conversation. If traditional marketing is a one-way conversation with your customer, with you doing all the talking in a print advertisement or TV commercial, social media is a two-way conversation. Or more than likely many conversations taking place at once about your product or service. It’s critical for marketers to know where and how these conversations are taking place. That way you know what’s being said about your company, be it positive or negative.
Social media basics include web content like blogs, podcasts, video blogs (“vlogs”), RSS, as well as websites such as Facebook and web services like Twitter. All these examples represent ways information is quickly shared with others on the web that may have an interest in it. As a marketer, you can also participate in these conversations and provide information about your products or service. But it’s important to keep in mind that if you try to take control of these conversations, you’ll be ignored. On the web, people feel more empowered and don’t want to be sold to. They prefer to be the ones in control and have more of a say as to what they like or don’t like about a product or service. As a marketer, it’s up to you to listen closely and respond in a way that addresses consumer needs.
Learning social media basics is not as difficult as the terminology might indicate. If you’ve spent any time on the web, you’ve seen many examples of social media in action. There are lots of resources you can turn to that demonstrate how other companies use social media. Use those resources to determine how it will work best for you. For many companies, social media has already become the best, most affordable way to be heard in an increasingly crowded marketplace.