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What is Social Media?

Social Media is the not-so-new buzz word for many things. Like Coke. You mean Sprite, right? The official definition reads, “Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” Social media sites like Facebook and YouTube allow users to create and share content then connect with others people worldwide around that shared content. The rise of social media has changed the way we see the world. This has caused businesses to rethink the way they communicate both online and off.

Big social media brands like Linked In and Facebook began in 2003 and 2004, but the origins of this movement go as far back as the messaging and BBS systems developed in the 1960’s. Fast forward nearly 60 years, and we even have social sciences studying the negative effects caused by social media including mood disorders and sleep disturbances. Whether we like it or not, social media is a big part of our modern lives and connecting to the billions of people using social media is paramount for business marketing.

Turning communication upside-down

With traditional media you would broadcast your message to the masses with the goal of connecting with smaller audience inside. Social media has changed that idea. Now you can actually target that smaller audience much more directly and efficiently. There may be no better example of this than Target ability to tell not only that a woman is pregnant, but very closely when she is due based on her shopping data. See: Forbes, NY Times. The concept here is creepy, but very real. A company can find and target anyone with very specific parameters in order to market to them. You are part of an audience and someone, somewhere is targeting you to buy something.

So what started as an interesting way to connect with other people on common interests has morphed into the most powerful marketing tool we could ever imagine. If your business is not using this to isolate and connect with customers you are missing out.