Already been deemed as the ‘future of communication’, social media is a giant leap towards democratisation of information sharing. It has touched countless lives and brought them closer. It has transformed people; the once mute spectator has grown manifold into a responsible contributor to the vastly evolving digital network. The advent of social media has revolutionized the digital landscape. It has awakened a generation and empowered them to find their voice.
Merriam -Webster defines social media as ‘forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)’.
It uses several platforms to create online communities for people to share information with one another. In this way, an enormous amount of information (in the form of photos, texts, video or audio files) is shared, searched, modified and created instantly. A ‘society’ is thus been created out of a pool of users who collaborate frequently and contribute to these networks.
What are some of the popular social networking sites?
Facebook and Twitter occupy the highest echelons in the social networking hierarchy. Their collective popularity is almost unmatched, anywhere. The other important sites are Instagram, Google Plus, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIN. All these sites differ from one another in terms of their functionalities. For e.g, content in Pinterest and Instagram is driven by its visual elements; Tumblr provides blogging services while LinkedIN is a website for people in professional occupations.
Among these, Facebook alone has an active user base of more than 1 billion users per month. According to a report published by Facebook ,
Daily active users (DAUs) were 728 million on average for September 2013, an increase of 25% year-over-year.
Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.19 billion as of September 30, 2013, an increase of 18% year-over-year.
Mobile MAUs were 874 million as of September 30, 2013, an increase of 45% year-over-year. Mobile DAUs were 507 million on average for September 2013.
What makes these social media sites so popular is their ease of access. It is possible to share opinions, ideas, experiences and emotions with anybody, located anywhere in the world. They cater to a large section of people demanding highly personalised spaces – while some find these sites useful for personal connections, there are others who use them for the purpose of conducting business. The experience that these networking sites provide is customised and therefore, exclusive. This uncharted freedom has yielded new possibilities and it is only obvious that it would have its share of followers.
Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks– Wikipedia.org
Social media marketing is nothing but harnessing the enormous potentials of these platforms to promote and sell products/services. The purpose behind using social media is to get a social profile that has a personality of its own. Content is generated around this profile to attract the interest of its target customer base. It results in an electronic word of mouth which is shared, liked and followed by its customers.
Social media marketing may not always be about selling a product. Sometimes, brands use this medium simply to spread consumer awareness and connect with its customers.
Why is it important to any business?
a) It provides valuable insights into the nature of its customers – their age group, preference, location etc.
b) It helps to engage with the customers in a way which is much more organic and humane.
c) It helps to measure success or failure of campaigns instantly.
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