What is Social Media?
Refers to all online tools and places that are available for users to generate content and communicate through the Internet. These media include blogs, social networks, file-hosting sites and bookmarking sites, among others.
Social media is computer-based technology which facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities. By design, it is internet-based and gives users quick electronic communication of content. Content includes personal information, documents, videos, and photos. Users engage with social media via computer, tablet or smartphone via web-based software or web application, often utilizing it for messaging.
Social media originated to interact with friends and family but was later adopted by businesses which wanted to take advantage of a popular new communication method to reach out to customers. The power of social media is the ability to connect and share information with anyone on Earth, or with many people simultaneously.
Globally, there are roughly 1.96 billion social media users will, most likely, rise to 2.5 billion by the end of 2018. Some sources estimate the number of users to be even higher. It has and is an ever-changing and ever-evolving web-based platform.
According to the Pew Research Center, social media users tend to be younger. Ninety-percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 used at least one form of social media. Further, these users tend to be better educated and relatively wealthy or earning over $75,000 per year.
For individuals, it is used to keep in touch with friends and extended family. Some people will use various social media applications to network career opportunities, find people across the globe with like interests, and share their thought, feelings, insight, and emotions. Those who engage in these activities are part of a virtual social network.
For businesses, social media is an indispensable tool. Companies use the platform to find and engage with customers, drive sales through advertising and promotion, gauge consumer trends, and offering customer service or support.
Social media’s role in helping businesses is significant. It facilitates communication with customers, enabling the melding of social interactions on e-commerce sites. Its ability to collect information helps focus marketing efforts and market research. It helps in promoting products and services, as it enables the distribution of targeted, timely, and exclusive sales and coupons to would-be customers. Further, social media can help in building customer relationships through loyalty programs linked to social media.
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