SM is an umbrella term that social network the technologies and the activities that people use to share experiences, ideas and information with each other. The term is still evolving. The term “SOCIAL MEDIA” most often refers to activities that integrate technology, social (or human) interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio – better known as “user generated content” [an example of UGC would be videos on YouTube.]
Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing (crowd outsourcing), and voice over IP, to name a few.
Examples of social media applications are Google Groups (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), Facebook (social networking), Youmeo (social network aggregation), Last.fm (personal music), YouTube (social networking and video sharing), Second Life (virtual reality), Flickr (photo sharing), Twitter (social networking and microblogging) and other microblogs such as Jaiku and Pownce.
— What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
SMM is where you use social media networking and user-generated content platforms to promote a product, service or content. SMM typically involves creating and participating in a “conversation” with the target audience, rather than blatantly advertising to them.
SMM can also include creating and promoting viral content that is meant to be shared by users. Many marketers are not comfortable with the lack of control over social media but when approached properly, social networks can be extremely effective channels for building product evangelism, reputation management or corporate branding
— Why is it becoming so popular?
I believe it’s simply because it mirrors our true nature. We are gregarious by nature and for once we are able to use technology easily to reach out and connect in new and exciting ways. It’s still all so new too, there are new frontiers popping up regularly and it’s a bit like the early Internet “gold rush” days during the 90’s
— Is every Social Media site for every entrepreneur?
They might not think so, but it is. You do it naturally every day, SM online is simply the same thing applied technologically.
— How does a business owner determine which site is the best match for them?
Good question. Not all SM Sites are equal. I typically advise people to think “classical marketing” and don’t let the ‘flashing lights’ fool you. Visit the site, pat attention to the conversation. “Lurk” for a while. Ask a question, see what happens. Each environment has its own rules. Blunder in and start shouting and you’ll get flamed. Respect the environments ‘sub culture’ and you’ll do fine. An obvious example of this in action is a site that caters to “gamers” – you instinctively know that if you’re selling insurance you would have a tough time in that environment. Like I said, think like a classical marketer.