In these modern times we live in, social media is an unavoidable buzzword but what is it exactly and how should your business be using social media?

Social media is a term for websites and other tools which allow individuals and businesses to create, share and exchange information. In the early days of the internet, most sharing was done by individuals who used chatrooms categorised by interests, so if you were interested in gaming, you’d find likeminded people and talk about ideas and shared interests.
Then, the internet started to develop at quite a pace – fast broadband connections became commonplace and the advent of the iPhone or more the fact that it put a permanently connected internet device in one’s pocket, fast mobile networks emerged quickly – leading to the permanently-connected social web that we have now.

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It’s the big one, with around 1.5 billion active monthly users. As with all massive systems, it comes with some baffling statistics. For example, Facebook has 936 million daily users and they spend 21 minutes on Facebook per user per day.

How it works for business
First and foremost, Facebook is a personal social network and it is absolutely necessary for businesses to understand this – generally, Facebook users are there to interact with their friends, not to be sold to by businesses but great business can be done through facebook, particularly through personal recommendation!

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Twitter has around 500 million users, of which 300 million are active. It allows users to share content and 140 character messages known as Tweets. Tweets can be found and grouped by the use of hashtags, such as # – these allow Twitter to define content that is popular on the site at any time, or trending. Users and organisations are found by using a prefix – such as @websterinternet.

How it works for business
Twitter is an excellent platform for sharing business news but in order to have news, it’s necessary to find people on Twitter to follow you. Start by adding lots of local businesses and share interesting content that people will want to share.

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LinkedIn is a business social network and allows users to network professionally online. It is smaller than Facebook and Twitter at around 180 million active users but it makes up for this by offering business pages, the ability to list and apply for jobs and, more recently, a blogging network.

How it works for business
Linkedin is brilliant for business. On LinkedIn, companies can interact with professional people using targeted advertising and content.

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Other Networks & Tips


Wikipedia lists around 200 social networking sites in all, so there is truly a social network for everything. When conducting business online through social media sites, it is very important to remember and adhere to these simple rules:

  • Build relationships over selling
  • Create conversation by sharing interesting content
  • If you’d be likely to share something, other people will too
  • Quality beats quantity
  • Advertising is conversational and built around community
  • Repeat what works and drop what doesn’t
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