There are thousands of Social Networking sites (see list of social networking sites). Each of these sites allow users to interact with each other and share information (discussions, pictures, videos, sound, etc.).
As a business, social media can be a mixed blessing. For example, Pinterest claims that companies using their services to promote their products are receiving increases in customer loyalty, brand awareness and new revenues (read the Wishpond blog for some actual examples). Starbucks uses Instagram as one of its key strategies to build brand loyalty and awareness (see Spin Sucks article on what Starbucks is doing with Instagram). On the other hand, if not managed correctly you can have a media crisis on your hand such as what happened with Twitter and McDonalds from social gaffes that were made via social media (see the article in Social Media Today and the article in the Telegraph).
How can Social Media Help?
- Product pictures
- Product demonstration videos
- Customer testimonies
- Product announcements
- Customer feedback and interaction
- Building customer loyalty
- Reaching an international audience
If you do use Social Media for your business, keep it current, monitor it, take action immediately for unwanted posts or information, and have fun.