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What is Social Media?

The Definition of social media

Social media, in the simplest form is using the internet to be social. Social media is a collective term for websites and applications that focus on communication, community-based input, interaction, content-sharing, and collaboration. People use social media to stay in touch and interact with friends, family, and various communities. Social media evolves and changes with every new feature and site/app available. It’s hard to pin one single definition to something that changes so often and is different for everyone, so social media as a broad term is fitting.

When did social media Begin?

Social media hasn’t always been a quick tool to share content and connect. It didn’t start with apps and smartphones or big social media sites. Social media began during the 1970s when the internet emerged. Thus, social media originated with computers, with the bulletin board site for computer hobbyists.

During the 1990s, people began getting personal computers and blogging began to rise. Individuals could express how they felt to people on their network. The invention of online chatrooms made it easier for friends to communicate and paved the way for the first social media site, which let users log on, add a profile picture, and connect with others. This site was based on the idea that everyone is only separated by ‘six degrees,’ allowing you to see your degrees of separation between other users.

What Social Media Platforms Are There?

1. Facebook 85 billion

2. YouTube 29 billion

3. WhatsApp 2 billion

4. Instagram 38 billion

5. Facebook Messenger 3 billion

6. Weixin/WeChat 24 billion

7. Tiktok 732 million

8. QQ 606 million

9. Douyin (Tiktok in China) 600 million

10. Telegram 550 million

Why is Social Media Important?

Social media is important for many of us, from individuals to global corporations. With social media, you can make friends, connect with people internationally, join groups, and find people with similar interests to you. Social media keeps you up to date with current events, global news, and celebrity lives. It offers you different people’s opinions and opens your mind up to worlds you never knew existed. If you’re not taking advantage of social within your digital marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a fast, inexpensive, and effective way to reach almost half the world’s population.

Benefits of social media for brand building

1. Increase brand awareness

With over half of the world’s population using social media, platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter a natural place to reach new and highly targeted potential customers.

Think people only connect with brands they already know on social media? Consider that 83 percent of Instagram users say they discover new products on the platform.

When Stillhouse Spirits ran a Facebook campaign to increase brand awareness among outdoor enthusiasts, the company achieved a 17-point lift in ad recall.

2. Humanize your brand

The ability to create real human connections (a.k.a. Meaningful Relationship Moments) is one of the key benefits of social media for business. Introduce your followers to the people who make up your company and showcase how existing customers are using and benefiting from your products.

Authenticity builds trust. Trust, in turn, builds marketing receptiveness and drives new business. And social is the best place to get real!

Show how you’re embracing your brand values, how your product works in real life, and how you’re putting the interests of your employees and customers first.

3. Establish your brand as a thought leader

The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer found that while there has been a recent swing towards distrust of government, NGOs and media, business is an institution with a 61 percent level of trust. People are looking to brands for insights and information… and there’s no better place to share that than social media.

No matter what industry your business is in, social media offers the opportunity to establish your brand as a thought leader—the go-to source for information on topics related to your niche.

LinkedIn—particularly the LinkedIn Publishing Platform—is a great network to focus on when aiming to establish your thought leadership.

Hootsuite chairman and co-founder Ryan Holmes has more than 1.7 million followers on LinkedIn, where he shares his insights about social media and entrepreneurship.

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