The Internet has changed and has led to new opportunities for businesses to not only communicate valuable information to prospective clients, but also to receive crucial feedback from the Internet community. One of the important components of social media is building “social authority”. Social authority grows from the point when an individual or organisation differentiates itself from others by establishing themselves as an “expert” in their particular field.
What are the different types of social media and how can they help to build a business?
- Social Networking is the most popular social media term and includes Internet sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These sites allow users the opportunity to connect with people who share similar interests and provide the opportunity to connect with even more users as your profile grows. Social Networking now accounts for almost 15% of all time spent on the Internet.
- Social Content sites include YouTube, Wikipedia, Craigslist, FlickR, and eBay – just to name a few. These sites allow users to generate their own content and post that content onto these widely popular sites. Users not only create their own content and post it onto these sites but they can also manage that content, keeping it fresh which allows for the visitor base to grow exponentially. This gives businesses the opportunity to use content as a tool to attract visitors, which can later be converted into customers.
- Social Recommendation sites such as StumbleUpon, Digg, Pinterest, Instagram and others give users the opportunity to recommend Internet content to others, who then in-turn vote on the quality of that content. The key is quality. If your company or organization provides a quality product or service to customers who are happy with that product or service, they will most likely recommend your company to others who will, in-turn, vote on their experience. The benefit is that your company can build its brand and expand its customer base.
- Social Bookmarking sites like delicious.com, Digg, Newsvine, and Reddit Technorati, Google Bookmarks and to a certain degree Twitter and Facebook give users the opportunity to share their bookmarks with other Internet users. Bookmarks can be organized, stored, managed and searched with others. The difference between Social Bookmarking and Social Content is with bookmarking, the resources themselves are not shared but instead the bookmarks to which the sites are references are shared. This can be an invaluable tool to businesses looking to grow repeat visits from users. Descriptions can be added to the “tags” of each bookmark so users can understand the content of the resource without first needing to download it. The advantage is that these types of links have human insight associated with them, while in contrast; search engine spiders are more automated. Social Bookmarking can give your business website an “omnipresence” meaning it can help to sell your products faster and more efficiently and the best part about this is that Social Bookmarking is free, which means more profit for your growing online business. Showing that you are on top of the news in your industry gives a recognized level of credibility.