Social media are interactive online technologies which allow the generation or sharing/exchange/interaction of various types of content, ideas, professions, interests, and others through virtual communities and networks. These online social platforms are mainly web based, that are accessible to everyone with an internet connection. They are mostly developed for use by the public either individually or in small groups like schools, colleges or businesses. The different types of social media include Friend Sites, Community Sites, Social Networking Sites, Blogs, and Multimedia and News Sites.
Friend Sites are primarily websites that contain profiles of individuals or social groups. It is a great place for networking, especially for those looking for jobs, starting a new business venture, or simply interacting with friends and old friends. Companies can take advantage of social media by using their social network to market their products, services, company news and events, blogs and multimedia. Friends of friends can also use these social network sites to find and reconnect with each other.
Community Sites are places where people or groups create an online community. It can be for entertainment, for participating in discussions or for pure enjoyment. There is no particular group that makes up this community. Social media experts often use these community sites as a platform for conducting market research, gathering feedback, monitoring user activity and measuring the reach and response of the company’s product or service. Social networking also allows users to share user-generated content.
Social Networks are groups of individuals, groups of organizations or other entities that share interest, knowledge or common purpose. They generally serve as a venue for communication, interaction and even fundraising. This type of media is also used in businesses to get access to potential customers and employees. These networks provide a medium to publish or distribute electronic materials and digital information such as pictures, videos, audio and text. Some of these social media users may be affiliated with one business organization or work for different ones.
Multimedia Networks is online communities of users who post multimedia contents that can be viewed by all viewers. It is a unique combination of social and technical elements. It is an ideal marketing tool as it reaches a large audience and has the power of viral spread. With multimedia networks, users can easily upload and share videos, photos, audios, games and applications that can be embedded on websites or shared through social networking.
These are just some of the major platforms being used by most businesses to make an impact on the audience. There are many more emerging platforms coming up. These platforms include apps for iPhones, Android, Windows and web-based consoles such as Xbox and Nintendo Wii. Aside from video hosting sites, these platforms are also utilized to share documents and spread awareness about the company’s products and services. The advantages of these social media platforms include: