What Is Social Media and How Can I Use It To Promote My Business?

What is a Social Media?

Are you one of the 350 million people who have a Facebook account? Why did I ask? Certainly you would…wouldn’t you…? It is without doubt the most powerful example of social media. It is a very popular social networking site all over the world in 70 languages. Social media can include weblogs, social blogs, internet forums, micro blogging, pictures, wikis, video, and social bookmarking. For the past several decades, the most popular platforms for advertisers to advertise their products are on radio, television, posters, junk mail, newspapers and billboards. In the last few years though, the internet has changed the playing field and the way that these other advertising mediums market and sell products and services to people.

Social Media offers a more interactive platform for customers to buy products and have access to services, and it is also more efficient and convenient for buyers and sellers as they can communicate online. The seller can show the product and the consumer can see it and see feedback from other purchasers before they decide whether to buy or not based on other peoples satisfaction.

Why is Social Media Important?

Hold on a second, do you know how many people are now using the internet to search for different products and services? And do you know how many people are using social media in their everyday life? You might want to take a look at a short 2 minute video…link is at the bottom of the article.

Here are some statistics that account for social media usage and effectiveness for individuals worldwide:

• 11% of all time spent online in the US are spent in social networking accounts.

• 234 million people from the age of 13 years old and up are using mobile devices in the US that are connected to the World Wide Web as of December 2009.

• In December 2009, Twitter had processed over one billion tweets and it has an average of almost 40 million tweets per day. Currently 2 to 3 people are signing up for an account every second!

• Australia has some of the highest usage statistics in the world. In terms of Facebook use Australia ranks highest with almost 9 hours per month from over 9 million users.

• If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest in the world!

As an owner of a business or as an advertiser, you simply cannot just ignore the statistics that more and more people are using social networking in this day and age and more and more are preferring it over watching television or listening to the radio.

Have you ever heard of social media marketing? It is the most recent marketing technique and it is almost everywhere. It is a phenomenal technique in marketing that has been adopted by most marketing companies because it attracts the people in social networking sites to buy their own services.

By using social media, you do not need to venture out to other places to look for customers because they are already on social media sites. Millions of people are signed up to these sites now all over the world. You do not need to walk on the street and knock on every door, because people are easy to “tweet” or chat to on line.

Traditional methods of advertising are giving way in favour of advertising where you don’t have to spend a lot but can reach a larger audience. Now, most companies have an online presence but by simply having a website, it isn’t going to get you customers and business. You have to advertise and promote your products and services and social media is as close to word of mouth advertising as it gets.

Social media has become the best outlet for marketing products and services as people do not just visit the page for five seconds. In fact, the average Facebook user stays on for 55 minutes a day! So that can increase the opportunity of them checking out the products and services a company is marketing.

Online Marketing Tips Using Social Media Tools

If you haven’t heard about social media, it is another form of information dissemination and source of entertainment and is more commonly used as a way to promote certain products, places, events and even people. With these tools now available for use, it is no wonder that there are many online marketing tips in Ireland that use social media as a main strategy in promotion and marketing.

If you want to be effective in online marketing for your site or your business in Ireland, then you might as well read these tips:

Tip 1 – Join social networking sites. These websites like the Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, can help you gain friends and potential people who will buy your products. Moreover, if you are promoting a website, gaining these friends will give you a direct market and a platform to speak to them simultaneously.

Tip 2 – Upload videos on YouTube. If people used to rely on television commercials to inform them what’s hot and what’s not, then these days, it is all about uploading your own videos through websites like YouTube.

Tip 3 – Blog about anything under the son. A blog or a weblog as it was previously called, is an online journal that is now being used even by business owners who are trying market their ideas. Join the bandwagon now and start blogging.

Social media are great tools for success if you are starting with the basic online marketing tips in Ireland. It is impossible for you to miss this opportunity and succeed online at the same time, so utilize these tools now and make money online.

Social Media: Weathering the Storm

Social Media is considered the future: the connection between companies and their customers; individuals and their families; work and work colleagues. It comprises the traditional web sites, personal and company web blogs, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and a wealth of different forums covering every subject imaginable. Social media, in which ever form may be chosen, is the ideal communication platform to get a message across, the highlight new products or just to chat and publish the latest news. Everyone who partakes dreams of riches, of countless followers, of comments and discussions without end.

The Internet, platform of all modern social media, has a downside as much as many advantages. It can be used for propaganda in all religious and political directions as much as a source of information without the need to show exactly where information stems from, who is providing the information or what the end result may be. It is a medium filled with faceless people as much as a medium which brings the unknown out and shows who they may be, who they claim to be. Modern technology allows most users to see exactly who they are conversing with but, at the same time, it allows users to hide themselves behind a faked identity, behind stolen or falsified photographs and images. It allows the creation of multiple identities, none of which may be the person using the systems available. It allows, above all, commentary and conversations, comments from anyone and everyone.

Being a mass media, the Internet also brings people of diverging interests together who, in their normal social environment, might never have met, never have found others with the same interests. It also brings the lower level of society out into the open, masked or with faked identities, and allows them to give full vent to their beliefs, their frustrations, even their sexual urges. The end result, for an ordinary person or a company, can be the Shit Storm.

The term is reputed to come from Korea. Here a woman was seen allowing her pet dog to defile public transport. She refused, it is said, to clean the mess up and was photographed. The photographs and information on this woman was then placed in the Internet and went viral. Her personal information was discovered, including the social media she used, and the Shit Storm began.

A Shit Storm is a massive attack through comments on a post, a blog entry, a news report or similar. It is always negative and can take on massive proportions, with hundreds if not thousands of negative, critical or even abusive comments being posted within a short period of time. Examples of minor Shit Storms can be seen on major news sites such as Yahoo, where comments are open and anyone can create an identity and then post at will, without any form of moderation. The Storm can be organized or simply brought about by one or two people publicizing what they have read and gaining the attention of others. A simple post on a controversial subject, a photograph where it appears animals or children are being abused – in a mild sense – right down to open support for an unpopular theme can bring the first entries. Once the Storm escalates it is almost impossible to end, until the next web site or blog becomes a target and interest fades.

The end result of a Shit Storm can be the loss of standing in the community or, for companies whose business relies on the Internet, a loss of face and prestige which, I the worst cases, can damage the bottom line; sales and public relations.

At first glance it is impossible to weather such a storm. The comments posted are continuous and mainly anonymous or untraceable. A Shit Storm can result, through overload, in a Denial of Service, in a web site crashing or, in milder forms, in the server slowing down under the pressure of clicks and views. For private individuals operating a personal web blog it can also result in severe psychological problems, in stress and health problems.

Is it possible to weather a Shit Storm or use it to your own advantage?

For private individuals the solution is simple: comments should be set to moderate and anonymous commenting disallowed. Comments which are pure abuse and contain nothing of use or relevance should be deleted and, where possible, the sender blocked from creating more comments. A good spam filter is also recommended, as some abusive comments come from semi-professional Trolls – people whose sole aim it is to create problems, to create abuse with the help of others who do not necessarily see the whole picture but are caught up in the flow. Comments with relevant content can and should be answered, but in a conciliatory tone, with an explanation and further information if available. Any form of abuse or the use of insults should be avoided at all costs. It is important to remember that a Shit Storm is not necessarily personal, and comments about the blog owner, their family, lifestyle or beliefs should not be taken to heart. Many people write without a great deal of forethought and seldom consider the consequences of their actions for others. The ability to leave a subject or topic alone and move on is a sign of strength, not of weakness. The ability to admit a mistake is also a sign of strength and should never be under-estimated.

For news services, where an open forum for commentary and discussion is vital there are few remedies. Riding out the storm means ensuring that new articles and reports and published. The comments section of a particular news item or report can be closed after a set period of time, to prevent further abuse. This policy should be employed throughout the entire site, however, and not limited to one or two items: singling out specific posts or news items and closing down the ability of readers to comment may result in the discussion being taken elsewhere, where the proprietors have no control over content.

For business web sites a set period of time for comments to be added should be included throughout the site as a matter of policy. Comments and the ability to comment should be moderated and anonymous commenting disallowed. Where a misunderstanding has caused a Shit Storm the facts of the case should be laid out clearly and concisely and specific comments may also be answered in a calm and conciliatory manner. Any form of abuse, insult or similar should be avoided at all costs. Articles which have brought a Shit Storm down upon a web site should be carefully checked to see exactly what has caused the problem, and lessons learned for the future. It is one thing to have a mass of visitors clicking through to a site but quite another to have them leaving with a bad impression.

It is possible to weather a Shit Storm so long as each comment is viewed calmly, each reply is made with care and due attention and nothing personal against the people making the comment is allowed to intrude. It can, for a business, take a good deal of time and patience but, handled correctly, but will show an interest for those who have made comments and bring a more personal and acceptable face to what may otherwise simply be a faceless company or business selling itself in the marketplace.