We often get questions about Social Media in brainstorming sessions with (potential) customers. The term Social Media is used frequently, but what exactly are we talking about when we talk Social Media? When is it wise to apply Social Media? And how?

Social Media is a collective name for all web applications that allows sharing information. We can divide them into:

Social Networks

A group of people with which information is exchanged over the internet. Examples include Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Path.

Micro blogging

These are expressions of personal or business pursuits, often no more than 140 characters. Ideal for sharing knowledge and news. The best known is media probably Twitter, but Tumblr, FriendFeed and Plurk offer similar services.

Location based services

These services allow users to ”check-in” at a particular location, so followers can track where a person is at the time being. These services are very useful for sharing reviews or tips from a specific location, such as restaurant or hotel. Most well-known is probably Foursquare.

Weblogs of blogs

Where it started as an online diary with personal experiences of the writer, we see more and more variants in blogging. But in essence it is, and will be, a way to proclaim a (collective) thought with the possibility for other users to respond.

Review sites

Op deze websites kunnen gebruikers hun mening (een review) geven over producten en diensten. Binnen de reisbranche zijn Zoover en TripAdvisor bekende initiatieven.

On these sites, users can give a review about a particular product or service. Within the travel industry Zoover and TripAdvisor are well-known initiatives.

Video sharing

These services make it possible to post and view (short) movies or clips and the opportunity for others to respond and share. Besides YouTube and Vimeo its is now also possible to upload video within Flickr (what used to be more of a photo sharing application). As a B2B media Viddler might be a good option, depending on the objectives and requirements.

Foto sharing

Publishing pictures and viewing those of friends. Instagram made this into a big hit, but photo-sharing applications as Picasa, Flickr and Photobucket have always been populair prior to this.

It seems that the above Social Media tools are more and more ”melting together”. But in the end your goals, the popularity of a particular social media within your market, and the ease of use (for both publishing and monitoring) decide what media could work best for you.

The ever changing search engine algorithms seem to be more and more aware of social media expressions and actually has influence on your search engine ranking! Social media helps to create awareness about your company and using social media will build a certain level of authority through your online presence. Whenever users interact with you and engage in a social network by clicking on content that you share, link to your website, or +1’s something on your website, they vote for your business, and thus indirectly make search engines aware that your website is probably worth visiting.

Would you like to know which Social Media is best used for your company?

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