ABC of Social Media

What is Social Media?

The social media is a media by which key business participants such as customers, employees, constituents and partners engage in social interactions outside of structured or sanctioned media.

What are the Social Media Technologies?

The following are the social media technologies used for social interactions on social media:

  • Community
  • Microblogging (example – twitter)
  • Blogging
  • RSS
  • Podcasts
  • IM
  • Social Networks (example – facebook, linked In)
  • Wiki
  • Video casting
  • Social bookmarks (example – digg.com)
  • Mashups – Ability to mix content from more than one source on the Web
  • Folksonomies
  • Widgets
  • Social profiles
  • Social Network analysis

Comparison between Social Media and traditional media

Today, paid media encompasses a vast array of digital channels and formats, while owned media includes websites, blogs, fan pages, mobile apps, widgets and an array of other possibilities. But the biggest change has been in the category of earned media — thanks to social networking. For example, Virgin airline’s “Day In The Cloud” event enabled passengers to use complimentary in-cabin Wi-Fi to tell others about their flight experience, primarily through Facebook and Twitter.

Comparison between social media tools to traditional marketing tools

Social media is not only winning marketing mix share but also providing tools that complements traditions marketing tools. As per interviews, the executives do not believe that social tools will completely replace traditional tools but social tools have potential to gain substantial share over the years.

Using traditional tools in combination with social tools will provide a more insight. But, it will be up to marketer to analyze any discrepancies in the insights provided by these two different tools. The understanding of traditional and social tool characteristic can help marketer to use the right tool for the insight. For example, the table below shows comparison between social media analysis and survey characteristics.

Consumer trends and Social Media

Consumer trends analysis below shows that almost all consumer trends are related to social media or started by social media. Needless to say, it is hard to ignore social media.

Communication become social. As formalized point-to-point communication in the form of mail (physical and electronic) continues to grow, instant messaging, location-based services and social media have exploded. The influence of social media on messaging goes beyond the pure message — it encourages an environment in which responses are collectively determined and (semi-)publicly shared. This diffuses the relationship between enterprise and individual, while amplifying the impact.

New Business models. New business models based on free or almost free initial delivery of services, combined with growing consumer acceptance of a broadly based cloud environment, have the potential to transform products into services on a scale never before encountered.

The expectation of instant availability. Mobile, wireless, no waiting for boot has allowed people to remain connected all the time and expectation of service delivery instantly.

Social Media risks

Social media like any other trend has challenges and risks as well. Therefore, we recommend executives to define social media policy to minimize the following risks:

Brand erosion. A certain loss of control in what is said about a brand.

Intellectual property (IP) leaks and/or security breaches.

Legal vulnerability.

Reduced competitiveness.

Corporate and legal departments seem to be risk averse to social media initiatives because they appear to put the organization at risk.

Some customers may see the community as a channel for unconstructive criticism about the company.

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