What is Social Media?
Most people aren't really sure what social media actually is. In a nutshell, it's a website that doesn't just present information or a product, it's a website that also interacts with the visitors and gives them a community feel. Some social media sites invite active comments and others are almost solely user driven.
Some examples of social media that works for companies would be a corporate blog that invited comments or photos of their product being used. A construction company may invite happy customers to post photos of build outs or repairs to show other potential customers how the service really works.
Other forms of social media that companies use are found in Twitter, a website that allows people to post what they are doing or post photos from their cell phones or computers. Many celebrities take advantage of Twitter to keep their fans posted on what they are doing, where they will be and just day-to-day goings on. And it works. Twitter allows users to "tweet" their statuses as many times as they want and it's a powerful way to get your company or organization in front of an interested audience.
Bookmarking sites such as Del.icio.us, Stumbleupon and others allow you to recommend various pages or products on your site. This are in turn seen by others and also indexed by the search engines. If your company sells pink laptop computers there's a great chance your bookmarked page will come up as an authority page and thereby send more visitors (and potential buyers) to your website.
Social news is another way to use social media to your advantage. Social news media sites such as Digg, Reddit and Technorati are all marvelous for getting new happenings out before the public at large.
True social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Hi5 are all great ways to showcase your company, your people, your services and network. When the public sees your company as a trusted friend rather than a nameless, faceless site on the web, then social marketing has done its job of allowing you to create a positive relationship and good experience for your visitors and potential customers.
Other forms of social media are found in video and photo sharing at places such as YouTube and Flickr. If you have a lot of knowledge about your industry, consider starting a wiki. A wiki is collection of information where every page will link to another page and creates a solid information base. If you know how your company's pink laptops are manufactured and assembled, put it in a wiki, there's a good chance someone will be curious to and the fact you take the time to share information about your product will show your visitors that you are knowledgable and an expert in your field. This builds trust and that's not easy to do in an online business.
Used correctly, social media marketing is a powerful way to convey your business or organization across the web and establish long term relationships with your clients as well as bring in new customers.