Social media are interactive media systems which allow the generation or sharing/ exchange of data, ideas, interests, opinions, and any other types of online expression through virtual networks and social communities. In the context of this technology, one may include all kinds of social web applications such as online communities, discussion boards, message boards, chats, group emails, video, music, instant messaging, podcasts, and wikis. Social Media allows users to easily share information with others. The use of Social Media goes beyond mere sharing or transmitting of information as such, it involves the process of social interaction, mutual understanding, group activities, and the production of value through digital devices. Social Media has emerged as one of the most important business strategies lately, as more organizations are relying on Internet for marketing and selling their products and services.
However, there are different ways to use social media for building your brand and driving traffic to your website. First and foremost, social media is a source of free one-way communication. All you need to do to start building an online community is to create a profile, make friends, exchange links, post news and articles, and so on. Once you have these systems set-up, your users will be able to easily communicate with you by joining your community or interacting with you in any of your available discussion boards, chats, or wikis. This allows you to get feedback on your products and services, which in turn helps in improving your offerings and profits.
* Blogs: Blogs are another way to utilize social media for driving traffic to your website. With blogs you are able to provide details about your products and services and also interact with your clients and customers. You can build a good audience by writing interesting and informative blogs on your particular niche and using them as a platform to promote your products and services. A blog is a good way to establish yourself as an authority in your domain. If your blogs are found by other websites and blogs, you are likely to receive free targeted traffic from these sources and convert it into sales.
* Social Networking: Another popular social media channel that enables you to connect with a large number of people is the micro-blogging platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, YouTube and so on. Popular social media platforms enable you to share news and information with large numbers of people within a short time. In fact, there are times when some popular social media websites cross over to the big screen and become online TV channels which significantly broaden your reach.
* Shared Web-based applications: Social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook enable their users to send each other short message or small files using the user interface. These small files can be shared with others who have chosen to follow the same interest. These web-based applications also allow users to chat using various application platforms including Tweetie, Hipchat and Hootsuite etc. The act of sharing files, images, videos and other small, interactive items allows users to engage in quick communication process that requires no additional software or tools. Hence, by employing this form of social media, you are able to reach out to large number of users at the same time.
* LinkedIn: Similar to other social media platforms, LinkedIn enables you to create your professional profile that is visible to all LinkedIn users. Once you create an account on the LinkedIn platform, you are also given the privilege to share information about yourself, your contacts and your company’s objectives on your profile page. This makes the LinkedIn platform a perfect tool for networking. Moreover, you can invite your close business associates to connect with you on LinkedIn.