What actually is Social Media?
Basically, Social Media are websites and applications that enable users to interact with each other by creating and sharing content of their interests. This means that web-based platforms that offer social interactions are called social media. Some big names in social media landscape include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, etc. Apart from these, there are a good number of amazing social media sites available out there.
What is she doing?
In this era of Internet Technology (IT), people are getting used to Internet for everyday things. Because it offers websites and applications to be in operation where people can virtually meet one another and can do whatever they want, for example, business, networking, socializing, etc. These interactions over the Internet are very effective in maintaining communication and relationship no matter how far we are from each other. In short, Social Media sites have revolutionized the way we communicate and socialize on the websphere.
Nowadays, the number of social media user is going up at internet speed. If Internet is available, you may take it for granted that people are using social media as a medium of real-time communication for almost everything. Simply put, wherever there is Internet, there is social media. Now the question comes what actually Social Media is doing for our society, culture, and business community.
How is Social Media impacting the global society and culture?
Social Media was initially developed as a personal tool to exchange details of life events such as bio-data, personal information, photos, and thoughts with their family and friends. With the advent of new technology, social media is growing up very rapidly at the pace of Internet.
Effects on Society & Culture
These days, people with Internet access adopts social media as part of their lives. Users aged more than 18 can use most of the social media sites and exchange their views on anything that matter to them. These Internet-based platforms offer tremendous opportunity of sharing user generated content across continents within moments. You don’t have to be a journalist or a subject matter expert to put your own opinion forward. Everyone has the right and opportunity to express his/her ideas or opinions no matter how important or silly those are.
Finding and networking people with similar interest has never been easier. Moreover, social media gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts with the like-minded people living anywhere in the world. Thus, making friendship with unknown and distant people has become a reality.
In a nutshell, social media sites have taken over every sphere of our lives and established dynamic communication system around the globe. Nowadays, it has become so pervasive that people are increasingly relying on social media than on traditional news giants like BBC, CNN, etc for their everyday news.
The Ugly Part
However, there are unpleasant things on the other side of the coin. The most obvious one is it limits our face-to-face interaction as social media supports interactive communication without being present in person. So, this lack of personal relations tells upon social bonding. As a result, we are getting more unsocial using the social sites. Already introvert people emphasize on virtual networking using social media and ignore real world interaction.
Admittedly, some of us are so addicted to social media sites that we spend more time on virtual socializing which decreases our overall productivity. It is undeniably true that people nowadays are often seen glued to their screen, big or small and thus, pay little attention to the surrounding or neighborhood.
Bad guys use social media as a means of stalking and cyber bullying. However, we must not tolerate any kind of man-made unjust and had better report to the authorities concerned .
Finally, the ugliest thing about being virtually social is that it might make you reclusive as you don’t meet your contacts often. Sometimes, it causes break up so easily that is not good for us.
How is Social Media shaping the business world?
Citizens have become netizens due mainly to all-encompassing social media. And, in a socialized world, we are more concerned about global politics than before. Social Media plays a vital role in forming public opinion regarding economy, climate, policies, and even war, etc. Social media is taking over the mainstream media gradually. As a result, large news corporations are on the wane.
Improved market intelligence and customer service
Social media can help companies easily find their target audience and fine-tune its marketing strategies. Likewise, businesses use social media in order to build brand awareness and loyalty. With the help of social sites, they are trying to expand their market demographic and familiarize customers with their products and services.
In practice, social media can help you gain improved market intelligence and customer data. Customer conversion rate can Also be increased if engagement with them is done properly. Social media marketing returns higher on investment compared with other media, for example, TV and Print media. Thus, it saves your money from draining out on expensive channels.
Additionally, Instant feedback from customers helps improve your customer service philosophy. For example, consumers can suggest or complain about product or services immediately after they use or avail. And, they can post review on the social sites that is extremely important to other buyers and companies as well. Now that businesses know what the customers think of their product and services, they can tailor it accordingly. Last but not the least, social media helps you gain website traffic and good ranking on search engines, too.
However, Social Media Marketing for businesses doesn’t work overnight. In fact, it is a continuous process that takes time each week to build a striking number of followers. Finally, a strong follower base will help return on investment gradually.
To sum up, social media lets you build a meaningful relationship with your customers and garner leads with one-third of the cost. But, you have to be very careful in using social media especially in case of negative reviews. Diplomatic action plan must be in place to nip negative publicity in the bud in order to avoid more severe harm done by competitors or others.
Now that we know Social Media has stupendous effect on our socio-economic life, we mustn’t forget the downside it carries with all the goodies. However, it goes without saying that good things about being social online outweighs the cons. In the end, it’s you who needs to maintain a balance between real and virtual life. Thus, you can make the most out of Social Media.