Social media are online interactive technologies which enable the generation or sharing/ exchange/transaction of information, concepts, interests, and so on through virtual networks and social communities. There has been a recent rise in the use of social media and websites to connect with friends, classmates, coworkers, or relatives who may be residing in a different part of the world. Social networking is becoming a part of everyone’s daily life and many people now regularly use social media to interact with their families and friends, to look for jobs, to learn about new products and services, to post messages and updates, to connect with others for fun, or as part of professional networking. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are used not only by individuals but also by businesses and organizations in an effort to improve their reach and presence in their target markets, attract more customers and visitors to their websites, or simply as a way of generating traffic. Some of these social media sites are focused on generating traffic to a website while others focus more on providing news, articles, or other multimedia content.
As far as the types of platforms used for the purpose of promotion, there are several popular ones: desktop applications (Windows, Linux, Apple), iPhones, Android, Blackberry, tablet PCs, and web browser based platforms like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and others. As far as the ways and methods of social media promotion are concerned, the most commonly used methods include the use of search engines, paid advertising, and sponsored links. Social media marketing is still a relatively new field and there is still a great deal of experimentation and research that goes into its development. The first steps towards its development involve defining the target audience. This will ensure that the kind of promotional activities undertaken is appropriate for a particular audience and segment.
Another very important consideration is platform compatibility. Different platforms work best with each other depending on the features they offer and the ease of use they provide. While there are some exceptions, for example Apple OSX being an extremely powerful platform, others are highly functional but not very good when it comes to mobile functionality.
The most popular social media websites are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. It is possible for an individual to start a business account solely dedicated to their business without having to share content from their personal accounts. This kind of strategy allows users to effectively use multiple platforms in their promotion. It also allows users to share content from all their accounts at once and promote across all available platforms.
When it comes to the kind of audience an entrepreneur can target, there are four major categories – targeting the right audience, reaching the right audience, maintaining the interest of the audience, and increasing the audience’s involvement in the product or service being promoted. If an entrepreneur uses social media marketing effectively, it is likely that they will be able to achieve the first objective perfectly – reaching the right audience. However, if they fail to reach the right audience, they may never be able to maintain their interest, or even increase their participation – the second goal.
For example, many people who are actively involved with Twitter use LinkedIn to connect with their contacts. Many people also regularly link up with Facebook and Google+ friends, which allow users to create and share links to their pages. Additionally, there are many different types of social media networks, such as Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, and StumbleUpon, which all allow users to share content across many different networks at once.