Types of Social Media Services
Almost everyone who regularly uses the Internet has some idea of what social media is, but many businesses and individuals hoping to make some money online are still unaware of its great importance in the world of Internet marketing. Social media barely existed a decade ago but now it is something that the majority of the world's Internet users use on a daily basis. Take Facebook, for example. Launched in 2004, it has now become the world's most popular social networking site with member numbers approaching an enormous one-billion – almost a seventh of the world's population!
Many of those who are new to the scene of Internet marketing make the mistake of thinking of social networking solely as a way for people to keep in contact over the Internet. However, it is also one of the biggest, if not the biggest players in the online business scene. From Facebook business pages to live Twitter feeds offering news on a company's latest products and services, there are many forms of social networking which can help drive traffic to your site and much more.
Here is an overview of the main areas of social media which every business with an online presence should pay attention to.
Currently the broadest and most popular form of social media, social networking provides a way for people to interact with friends and other contacts online. It provides a medium to share information, collaborate, advertise and more. People can join groups, keep up to date with their favourite things and comment on each other's submissions.
Businesses can profit immensely from getting involved in social networking. They can create pages on sites like Facebook, invite contacts, provide updates and advertise their products and services. By getting involved in the social media marketing scene, businesses can greatly increase their traffic. Webmasters should give their readers every opportunity to share the content they like with their friends and spread the word. It is often thanks to social networking that good content ends up becoming extremely popular.
Social Bookmarking and Social News
Social bookmarking is all about sharing content. For example, if someone enjoys an article on your blog, they may share it with their friends or with the public. If someone else likes the shared content, then they in turn may share it and thus your website's exposure has the potential to increase exponentially.
Facebook is popularly used as a social bookmarking utility and anyone who uses the service will no doubt have witnessed this first hand. While Facebook is a full-featured social networking service, there are also other sites which focus entirely on social bookmarking. Sites such as Delicious or StumbleUpon, for example, are solely geared towards sharing content among the public.
Social news services such as Digg and Reddit offer a similar functionality. Links to content as well as user-generated stories and articles are posted on a site and then rated and commented on. This not only provides more exposure for your website: It also has the potential to provide useful feedback.
Picture and Video Marketing
The Internet is far more media-driven than it used to be. Gone are the times when most Internet users were stuck with extremely slow dial-up connections which simply couldn't handle image-rich websites let alone streaming video sites such as YouTube. Businesses can jump on the bandwagon by using sites such as Flickr for photo-based marketing or YouTube for video marketing.
Picture and video marketing is also a useful way to get feedback. On YouTube, for example, people often comment on videos and "like" or "dislike" them. This increases exposure and provides feedback to help you with your market research.
A "Wiki" is a type of site which anyone can edit. Wikipedia, one of the world's most popular websites, is a perfect example. While Wikipedia is not intended for Internet marketing and certainly not for self-promotion, there are many niche wikis which are useful and suitable for providing information about your business. For example, if your business offers travel-related services, you may want to place a link to your website on an appropriate page on the popular WikiTravel website.
What is extremely important with marketing on wikis is to understand the unwritten rules. Wikis are more a place for providing information and not for outright advertising. Advertising and, even more so, self-promotion and removing competitors is highly frowned upon and using such methods will likely have a detrimental effect on your business and its reputation in the longer term.
In conclusion, social media marketing is mostly about sharing content that is of value and of interest to people – content which your readers want to share. A good social media marketing campaign should be viewed as a way to effectively let other people advertise for you in appreciation for unique, quality content.