Social media today are so important that they have become an inevitable segment of communication and marketing.
Social media can be defined as a virtual world in which every internet user spends at least some time while he or she is on the internet. This is the reason why each year we have dozens of new social media websites but there are some that continuously remain most popular and should be considered for your marketing plans.
For more than 5 years Facebook has been the most popular social media website. It started as a small project in 2004 but today there are more than 1 billion people that have Facebook accounts and millions of people are active on this social media website on a daily basis. Many people consider Facebook to be a type of digital identity for each person and because of the number of people that use it can be used as a powerful marketing tool.
More than a decade ago people had to wait for hours in order to download and listen to a few songs. Downloading a music video was almost impossible. Today thanks to YouTube people can easily share and view their favorite videos. According to the latest stats more than 1 billion people use YouTube. On average people watch more than 6 billion hours of video on YouTube each month. The great idea behind YouTube was recognized by Google who bought YouTube after only 1 year from its creation.
Twitter is often compared with Facebook but the truth is that these social media websites are completely different. The main difference is the idea behind them. While Facebook was created to keep in touch with your college friends, Twitter was more like a service where people shared their short thoughts on what they are doing at the moment. Even though the idea behind Twitter remains the same today you can find groups of people that use Twitter in order to share their common believes and interests. Twitter is often used for business purposes and all the major companies have their own Twitter profiles where they share tweets with their followers about products or services.
LinkedIn is one of the rare social media websites that saved its format and purpose to be a network of professionals. LinkedIn is a network that provides easier business contacts. Although this network offers various other features like discussion groups for example; LinkedIn is primarily used for acquiring business contacts and promotion of people’s CV. LinkedIn is currently ranked as the 12th most visited website on the internet.
Pinterest is a virtual pin board. This is one of the social media websites that has increased its popularity in record time. Today it is ranked as the 27th most popular website in the world (12th in the USA). The creators of Pinterest had an idea to connect people from around the world through things that they are interested in. The idea is that things like favorite books, electronic equipment or maybe a recipe can create a link between two people. Pinterest gets millions of new pins every week and connects people from around the globe based on their interests. Another thing that makes Pinterest different is the fact that this website is mostly used by women.
A fast rising competitor to Facebook where you can use very similar features like finding friends and family, posting photos & links, comments and more. As well, you can follow people that are not your “friends” so it is similar to twitter. What is also a big plus with Google+ is the integration with local business for reviews, Google Maps and local search results.
So, do you need to start using all these social media sites? Probably not. Can they increase your brand exposure and sales? Yes, but research which social sites best match with your business. If you own a bar then get on Facebook. If you own a B2B sales company then start using LinkedIn. However, all businesses should be using Google+. It may be worth talking to a web professional to get the maximum benefit. Most social sites offer integration tools for websites that can increase social media effectiveness.
With social media be patient, make a plan for consistent use and consider your time investment over other advertising routes and the return.