Social media are essentially interactive technology which allow the generation or sharing/ exchange/aggregating of various types of content through social networks and virtual communities. It is a type of technology that allows communication between people who have established some form of relationship and/or an understanding of each other. The “friendship” concept then dictates that users share and generate content with the use of blogs, RSS feeds, forum posts, and the like.
The use of social media tools to generate content, update profiles, and share information with others are actually the core of social networking. In a way, social networking is defined as the process of developing, generating, using, sharing or arranging a system through which people meet, interact and develop relationships based on shared interests, common goals, or common life experiences. Some examples of social media sites include MySpace, Facebook, Digg, Twitter, Flickr, FriendFeed, StumbleUpon, and Tumbler. These social networking sites are popular worldwide and millions of users utilize them regularly; therefore, they have become an important and useful source of communication worldwide.
The key advantage of social media for brands is that it provides a platform through which brands can create and provide content that can be indexed and “tweeted” by interested parties worldwide. Brands therefore gain an opportunity to connect with their audience in an engaging way that was previously unavailable. The second major benefit is that social media accounts can also be used for direct customer engagement. Engaged customers, in turn, will recommend and share your content to others which will result in an increase in overall visibility and exposure. As a result, these increased exposure and views will result in more traffic to your website/blog/viral video etc.