What is social media and its types?

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What is social media and its types?

A lot of people have the opinion that social media is nothing but just a fad. Perhaps their belief comes from the fact that once-popular Myspace and Orkut have closed shops and from the notion that not every social media platform can generate the popularity earned by Facebook and Twitter over the years. Yet, many reasons have supported social media’s existence for a long time. Let us go through some of the reasons to get a better perspective.

Why social media is here to stay

Social media usage is on the rise: There has been a rapid growth in mobile technology, and at present, a large number of the global populace own mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, phablets, and wearables not only to browse the internet but also to shop online and use social media platforms.

According to a report by We Are Social, “Social media continues to grow apace around the world too, with active user accounts now equating to roughly 29% of the world’s population.” The report also states, “Monthly active user (MAU) figures for the most active social network in each country add up to almost 2.08 billion – a 12% increase since January 2014“. On the other hand, research conducted by GlobalWebIndex states that an average social media user spends as many as 2 hours and 25 minutes per day using various social media websites and apps to stay connected with the rest of the world.

Social media keeps reinventing itself: New and emerging mobile technologies fuel social media channels’ growth and allow constant innovations. For instance, several social media platforms offer many interactive features that were unheard of years ago. These include but are not limited to – sharing buttons, like or favorite buttons, options to upload short video clips, face-time video calling on IM, geo-tagging services, advertising, and promotional services.

Some of these platforms have acquired websites or apps which already have a user base of millions. Take the example of Twitter, which bought the video-sharing startup Vine and, more recently, Niche. Similarly, Facebook was in the news for acquiring Instagram and Whatsapp, two of the most popular mobile apps. Such steps allow the platforms to increase their target user base and reinvent themselves with better interfaces and exciting functionalities.

Social media is beyond networking: Many moons ago, social media was all about social networking websites. Orkut and Facebook were mainly used to keep in touch with long-lost friends, the college community, alumni, or distant relatives. The options were limited.

Nowadays, you can do a lot more than add friends and share photos and posts with them. For instance, you can get the latest news and reactions to the news by checking your newsfeed. Similarly, you can share or retweet exciting posts with your network and even create your professional profile (LinkedIn).

Moreover, information is bite-sized on social media, making it easy to go through even in a hurry. Some keywords and hashtags are all you require to get the latest information on the go right at your fingertips. Also, you can promote your business and services and reach out to millions of potential customers without spending a fortune, and this is just the tip of the iceberg! This takes us to the next point.

Social media is an excellent marketing prop: Social media platforms serve as a marketing tool for numerous small, medium, and large companies. There is hardly any renowned brand that does not have its presence on at least one of the leading social media channels. This is because the rewards associated with social media are many. First, it is a convenient and fast-paced tool using which you can provide enhanced customer care. It allows you to interact and engage with your customers on a one-to-one basis through your company’s profile page. Additionally, you can build trust and improve your brand’s image online by responding to their feedback, complaints, suggestions, and reviews, and replying to their queries.

You can also go for paid or unpaid promotional strategies on social media to innovatively market your products and services and reach out to a mind-boggling number of potential customers compared to the traditional route. But, again, everything is a click away.

Social media allows customers to make an informed decision: If social media platforms help marketers promote their business online, it also helps customers make an informed decision. For instance, they can determine a product’s or service’s pros and cons before settling for the same. They need to check the brand’s official pages in question and see how it has been rated or reviewed by fellow customers. They can get genuine end-user reviews instead of testimonials posted on the sellers’ websites. It gives them a broader view.

These are some of the many reasons that work in favor of social media and support that it is here to stay for a long time to come. What do you think? Is it a fad, or will it continue to be as popular in the future? Feel free to share your views with us through comments.

Author Bio:

John Siebert is the President and CEO of Tranquil Blue – Tampa Website Designer, focusing on website design, mobile app development, and search engine marketing.

What are social media and its types?