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What is Social Media?

Social Media includes all websites and apps that allow users to network and communicate. Here users can create and exchange content for an unlimited period of time. The central characteristic is therefore interactivity. The relatively broad term social media includes well-known platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, for example

  • Web-based communication tools for information exchange
  • Allows users to network and share content permanently
  • Includes user generated content and many-to-many communication

What social media makes possible

Creating, consuming and sharing content – all this is made possible by the diverse platforms of the social media landscape. The online dialogue on Facebook, Twitter & Co. is characterized by social interaction and collaborative writing. Social media has thus brought about a change in the way the web is used – from mere consumption to versatile participation. Voting, commenting, organising events – all this has long been taken for granted on social media. The word media here stands for the communication instrument, namely the Internet. In order for interaction to be possible, user accounts must be created in the social networks by the users. These include profiles and associated photos, for example. In addition, the contacts are characteristic of the social media channels. They are called differently, for example followers, friends, subscribers etc. On Facebook there is a rough division into groups, pages and personal pages. You can comment and “link” content. News feeds, personalized content and notifications and suggestions are also typical. The hashtags used to categorize posts were also invented on social media, originally by Twitter. Meanwhile, these diamond symbols (together with keywords) are also popular outside of social networks. Of course you can also use search functions on social media to find content and people. In addition to updates in text form, images are particularly popular on social media. Some examples of social media are Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Linkedin, VKontakte, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, MySpace, StudiVZ, XING and blogs. Usually today most users have accounts on several of these platforms.

Social Media and Online Marketing

For online marketing, social media platforms are interesting for many reasons. For example, advertisers can advertise on Facebook with particular accuracy due to the very detailed user profiles. On sites such as YouTube, the boundaries between advertising and content seem to be very fluid, and advertising messages are therefore much easier to consume. Social media enables excellent communication between companies and customers. However, it also has the disadvantage that really everyone can express their opinion and possibly cause damage to their image. That is why all these platforms have now established certain clear guidelines for dealing with each other. Fake news, spam attacks, infringements of privacy and the general information overload can also be problematic. In social media, private and business interests often intermingle. Nevertheless, the advantages of all these networks outweigh the disadvantages. Users can not only exchange stories and experiences, they can also organize themselves or simply gather knowledge. Companies can enter into a direct dialogue with the respective target groups, so nowadays every company or organisation should deal with this important topic. Social media has given rise to the so-called influencers. These are users who have an above-average reach and are therefore suitable as good cooperation partners for marketing a company in social networks. For companies and public figures, social media sites are very important nowadays. A targeted strategy for social media can bear very good fruit here. For example, brand awareness can be increased and leads generated via all the platforms mentioned. Companies can also present themselves in the best possible light.

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