What is Social Media?

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What is Social Media
Social Media is a collection of online communication channels where communities interact, share, collaborate, and exchange information and ideas in virtual networks and communities. These platforms are inclusive of applications like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat among many others.
Designed to be disseminated through social interaction, Social Media represents a shift from traditional forms of broadcast or publishing. The popularity of these platforms has exploded over the past decade, transforming the way that people around the world communicate and share information.
Moreover, Social Media is accessible to anyone with internet access, enhancing communication for organizations, fostering brand awareness and often improving customer service.
Social Media's Role in Digital Marketing
Social Media offers marketers a unique way to engage with customers in a place where they spend time online. They also provide a way to distribute content and increase brand visibility, influencing search engine optimization (SEO) and increasing website traffic.
Businesses use Social Media platforms to reach their target customers, gain useful insights through ‘social listening’. Through social listening, marketers can understand consumer behaviour and sentiment towards their brand, their competitors and the industry in general. These insights can help marketers better understand their market and find opportunities or identify trends.
Finally, Social Media platforms also offer the opportunity to run targeted ads. These platforms have powerful targeting capabilities that allow marketers to tailor ads to the demographic profile, interests, and behaviours of their audience.
Social Media Examples
Several popular Social Media platforms are used worldwide. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow users to post short messages, updates, and interact with others' content. LinkedIn caters mainly to professionals and businesses, allowing businesses to establish industry authority and build a network of professionals.
Instagram, a photo and video sharing platform, is highly popular among the younger demographic. Businesses use it to show off their products, share behind-the-scenes glimpses, and generally build a visual identity for their brand.
Finally, YouTube, a video sharing site, where businesses can post videos for their customers to view and share. This platform allows brands to share tutorials, customer testimonials, live events, and so forth.