Social media are actually interactive technologies that allow the generation or sharing/ exchanging/ exchange of information, opinions, career orientations, and various types of creative expression through social networks and online communities. These platforms are used by people to interact socially on a specific topic or issue with other like minded individuals, share ideas, information and views, and build relationships. These online communities or networks include many social media sites like: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, FriendFeed, FourSquare, and Flickr to name a few. Social media are very powerful tools for marketing and advertising your brand because your message is immediately available to everyone in these communities. They are also used by companies to increase brand awareness, build customer relations and sales, and spread information about their company.
The key to successful marketing and advertising lies with the audience. These networks are not made up of people who have the same business orientations and interests; but rather they are people who have commonalities of interest in entertainment, lifestyle, religion, politics, education, art, culture, and current events. This makes it easier for businesses and brands to engage their target audience because their audience will have shared similar interests and can be part of the intended message. For instance, if your company sells children’s toys and wears fashion then you may want to advertise and participate in social media networks that have children’s toy lovers, movie lovers, music lovers, sports fanatics, and even fashionistas within their target audience.
Social network platforms provide immediate engagement with your target audience, but what makes them effective is when you leverage the power of creation to drive highly targeted traffic to your website or blog. There are a few social media networks that are great for curating content such as Flipboard, Google+, and Digg. If you are part of a social network such as LinkedIn, then you can build up a network of interesting contacts, and you can easily swap ideas and thoughts with other members to spark your creativity and get your message out. These same networks are also great for creating business relationships with other professional networks, which can lead to future business deals, referrals, and partnerships.