What is Social Media? (2023)


  • Ben Lutkevich,Technical Writer
  • Ivy Wigmore

What is social media?

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. Businesses use social applications to market and promote their products and track customer concerns.

(Video) What is Social Media? - Social media explained

Business-to-consumer websites include social components, such as comment fields for users. Various tools help businesses track, measure and analyze the attention the company gets from social media, including brand perception and customer insight.

Social media has enormous traction globally. Mobile applications make these platforms easily accessible. Some popular examples of general social media platforms include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

What are the business applications of social media?

In business, social media is used to market products, promote brands, connect to customers and foster new business. As a communication platform, social media promotes customer feedback and makes it easy for customers to share their experiences with a company. Businesses can respond quickly to positive and negative feedback, address customer problems and maintain or rebuild customer confidence.

Social media is also used for crowdsourcing. That's the practice of using social networking to gather knowledge, goods or services. Companies use crowdsourcing to get ideas from employees, customers and the general public for improving products or developing future products or services.

(Video) What is Social Media? In Simple English

What is Social Media? (1)

Examples of business to business (B2B) applications include the following:

  • Social media analytics. This is the practice of gathering and analyzing data from blogs and social media websites to assist in making business decisions. The most common use of social media analytics is to do customer sentiment analysis.
  • Social media marketing (SMM). This application increases a company's brand exposure and customer reach. The goal is to create compelling content that social media users will share with their social networks. A key components of SMM is social media optimization (SMO). Like search engine optimization, SMO is a strategy for drawing new visitors to a website. Social media links and share buttons are added to content and activities are promoted via status updates, tweets and blogs.
  • Social customer relationship marketing. Social CRM is a powerful business tool. For example, a Facebook page lets people who like a company's brand to like the business's page. This, in turn, creates ways to communicate, market and network. Social media sites give users the option to follow conversations about a product or brand to get real-time market data and feedback.
  • Recruiting. Social recruiting has become a key part of employee recruitment strategies. It is a fast way to reach a lot of potential candidates, both active job seekers and people who were not thinking about a job change until they say the recruitment post.
  • Enterprise social networking. Businesses also use enterprise social networking to connect people who share similar interests or activities. These applications include internal intranets and collaboration tools, such as Yammer, Slack and Microsoft Teams, that give employees access to information and communication capabilities. Externally, public social media platforms let organizations stay close to customers and make it easy to conduct market research.
What is Social Media? (2)

What are the benefits of social media?

Social media provides several benefits, including the following:

  • User visibility. Social platforms let people easily communicate and exchange ideas or content.
  • Business and product marketing. These platforms enable businesses to quickly publicize their products and services to a broad audience. Businesses can also use social media to maintain a following and test new markets. In some cases, the content created on social media is the product.
  • Audience building. Social media helps entrepreneurs and artists build an audience for their work. In some cases, social media has eliminated the need for a distributor, because anyone can upload their content and transact business online. For example, an amateur musician can post a song on Facebook, get instant visibility among their network of friends, who in turn share it on their networks.

What are the challenges of social media?

Social media can also pose challenges to individual users, in the following ways:

  • Mental health issues. Overuse of social apps can result in burnout, social media addiction and other issues.
  • Polarization. Individuals can end up in filter bubbles. They create the illusion of open discourse when the user is actually sequestered in an algorithmically generated online community.
  • Disinformation. Polarized environments foster the spread of disinformation where the perpetrator's intent is to deceive others with false information.

Businesses face similar and unique social media challenges.

(Video) Quitting Social Media

  • Offensive posts. Conversations on intranets and enterprise collaboration tools can veer off into non-work-related subjects. When that happens, there is potential for co-workers to disagree or be offended. Controlling such conversations and filtering for offensive content can be difficult.
  • Security and retention. Traditional data security and retention policies may not work with the features available in collaboration tools. This can raise security risks and compliance issues that companies must deal with.
  • Productivity concerns. Social interaction, whether online or in person, is distracting and can affect employees' productivity.

What are enterprise social media best practices?

It is important for companies to have a social media strategy and establish social media goals. These help to build trust, educate their target audience and create brand awareness. They also enable real people to find and learn about a business.

Here are some social media social media best practices for companies to follow:

  • Establish social media policies that set expectations for appropriate employee social behavior. These policies should also ensure social media posts do not expose the company to legal problems or public embarrassment. Guidelines should include directives for when an employee must identify them self as a company representative and rules for what type of information can be shared.
  • Focus on platforms geared to B2B marketing, such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Put in place an engaging, customer-centric strategy in social media campaigns. An example would be to use Twitter to field questions from customers.
  • Include rich media, such as pictures and video, in content to make it more compelling and appealing to users.
  • Use social media analytics tools to measure user engagement with content and to keep on top of trends.
  • Use a conversational voice in posts that comes across as professional but not rigid.
  • Shorten long form content to make it social friendly. Lists and audio and video snippets are examples.
  • Embrace employees and customers talking positively about the organization and repost that content.
  • Check in on analytics and management tools frequently, if not on a daily basis, as well as the social media accounts.

    (Video) Neuroscientist - What Overusing Social Media Does To Your Brain

What are the different types of social media?

The four main categories of social platforms are these:

  1. Social networks. People use these networks to connect with one another and share information, thoughts and ideas. The focus of these networks is usually on the user. User profiles help participants identify other users with common interests or concerns. Facebook and LinkedIn are good examples.
  2. Media-sharing networks. These networks focus is on content. For example, on YouTube, interaction is around videos that users create. Other media-sharing networks are TikTok and Instagram. Streaming platforms like Twitch are considered a subset of this category.
  3. Community-based networks. The focus of this type of social network is in-depth discussion, much like a blog forum. Users leave prompts for discussion that spiral into detailed comment threads. Communities often form around select topics. Reddit is an example of a community-based network.
  4. Review board networks. With these networks, the focus is on a review, usually of a product or service. For example, on Yelp, users can write reviews on restaurants and endorse each other's reviews to boost visibility.

What are examples of social media?

Here are some examples of popular web-based social media platforms:

  • Facebook is a free social networking website where registered users create profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues.
  • LinkedIn is a social networking site designed for the business community. Registered members can create networks of people they know and trust professionally.
  • Pinterest is a social curation website for sharing and categorizing images found online. The main focus of Pinterest is visual, though it does call for brief descriptions of images. Clicking on an image will take a user to the original source. For example, clicking on a picture of a pair of shoes might redirect a user to a purchasing site; an image of blueberry pancakes might redirect to the recipe.
  • Reddit is a social news website and forum where site members curate and promote stories. The site is composed of hundreds of sub-communities called subreddits. Each subreddit has a specific topic, such as technology, politics or music. Reddit site members, also known as "redditors," submit content that members vote on. The goal is to elevate well-regarded stories to the top of the site's main threadpage.
  • Twitter is a free microblogging service for registered members to broadcast short posts called tweets. Twitter members can broadcast tweets and follow other active users' tweets using several platforms and devices.
  • Wikipedia is a free, open content encyclopedia created through a collaborative community. Anyone registered on Wikipedia can create an article for publication; registration is not required to edit articles.

The takeaway

Social media is everywhere. Individuals and businesses of all sizes and types use it. It's a critical resource for engaging with customers, getting customer feedback and expanding company visibility.

An effective social strategy can enhance an organization's reputation and build trust and awareness among a growing network of connections. While some are more tailored to B2B promotion, no platforms are off limits.

(Video) The History of Social Media

This was last updated in September 2021

Continue Reading About social media

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Why it is called social media? ›

The term social in regard to media suggests that platforms are user-centric and enable communal activity. As such, social media can be viewed as online facilitators or enhancers of human networks—webs of individuals who enhance social connectivity.

What is another definition of social media? ›

: forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)

What is social media and its benefits? ›

Social media allows individuals to keep in touch with friends and extended family. Some people will use various social media applications to network and find career opportunities, connect with people across the globe with like-minded interests, and share their own thoughts, feelings, and insights online.

What is the best definition of media? ›

What Does Media Mean? Media is the plural form of medium, which (broadly speaking) describes any channel of communication. This can include anything from printed paper to digital data, and encompasses art, news, educational content and numerous other forms of information.

Why is social media is important? ›

What are the benefits of using social media? Billions of people around the world use social media to share information and make connections. On a personal level, social media allows you to communicate with friends and family, learn new things, develop your interests, and be entertained.

What are the 7 functions of social media? ›

Understanding the functional building blocks of social media", researchers provide a framework that defines social media, which includes seven functional social media building blocks: identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups.

What is the main message of social media? ›

What is social media messaging? Social media messaging refers to how you communicate with your social audience (think: followers, fans, customers and prospects). There are two main elements of social media messaging: How to communicate your voice, values and insights to customers specific to your social presence.

Who first defined social media? ›

But don't get the idea that this is a two-horse race. Darrell Berry, a self-described "photographer/writer/social media researcher & strategist/hacker," says he began using the term sometime in late 1994 as he was developing an online media environment called Matisse while living in Tokyo.

What are the types of social media? ›

What Are The Types of Social Media?
  • Social Networking Sites. These are sites mainly used for connecting with friends and family. ...
  • Image-based sites. Image-based types of content have gained more prominence in recent times. ...
  • Video sharing/streaming platforms. ...
  • Discussion forums. ...
  • Blogs and community platforms.
19 Apr 2022

What words describe social media? ›

I asked Facebook fans to describe in word what their favorite thing is about social media. Answers included things like: flexibility, community, connection, dynamic, engagement, leaning, people, friends and relationships (some answers more than once).

How do you define social media as a student? ›

Social media is any digital technology that allows people to share ideas, information and thoughts via online communities and networks. Social media provides students with multiple ways to connect virtually with others (family, friends/peers, teachers, members of interest groups, and even strangers).

Why is social media difficult to define? ›

Defining social media

However, providing a single definition that encompasses all of the technologies and activities associated with social media is extremely difficult, in part because social media is not defined by any specific scope, format, topic, audience, or source.

Why social media is important in our life essay? ›

Social media allows the social growth of society and also helps many businesses. It provides tools like social media marketing to reach millions of potential clients. We can easily access information and get news through social media. Social media is an excellent tool for creating awareness about any social cause.

What is social media and its advantages and disadvantages? ›

Social media can be a useful tool for businesses, bringing advantages such as engaging with your audience and boosting website traffic. However there can also be disadvantages, including the resources required and negative feedback.

How social media affects our life? ›

Since it's a relatively new technology, there's little research to establish the long-term consequences, good or bad, of social media use. However, multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.

What is the main purpose of the media? ›

The main purpose of mass media is communication. Mass media attempts to communicate large quantities of information to the widest audience. The types of communication can vary. Mass media communicates current events, general education, health and safety information, and product information (i.e., advertisements).

Why is media important? ›

It is the media for the masses that helps them to get information about a lot of things and also to form opinions and make judgments regarding various issues! It is the media which keeps the people updated and informed about what is happening around them and the world. Everyone can draw something from it.

What words describe media? ›

  • news.
  • publishing.
  • radio.
  • television.
  • announcement.
  • cable.
  • communications.
  • correspondence.

What are the biggest benefits of social media? ›

What are the advantages of social media?
  • You reach large audiences.
  • You have a direct connection with your audience.
  • You can create organic content.
  • You have access to paid advertising services.
  • You build your brand.
  • You drive traffic to your website.
  • You can evaluate your performance.

What are the five rules of social media? ›

The 5 Golden Rules of Social Media Marketing

What are Negative Impact of social media? ›

The more time spent on social media can lead to cyberbullying, social anxiety, depression, and exposure to content that is not age appropriate.

What are the four main purposes of social media? ›

People are using social media for a variety of purposes. The four main uses of social media form the acronym SLIM: sharing, learning, interacting, and marketing.

When did social media start? ›

Social media started in the early 2000s

The first social media site to reach a million monthly active users was MySpace – it achieved this milestone around 2004. This is arguably the beginning of social media as we know it.

What was the first purpose of social media? ›

At first, social media existed to help end users connect digitally with friends, colleagues, family members, and like-minded individuals they might never have met in person.

What is the introduction of social media? ›

15 Social Media Introduction. Social media are computer-mediated technologies that allow individuals, companies, NGOs, governments, and other organizations to view, create and share information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.

Who is the father of social media? ›

The First Social Networks

Six Degrees founder Andrew Weinreich, sometimes referred to as the father of social networking, created his platform to help people connect with people they didn't know (yet).

Is social media good for society? ›

Social media is very beneficial for society. It has helped individuals connect and build relationships with not just people you know but other people. The media encourages students to learn and grow. It can also empower businesses to build their audience and boost their bottom line.

What is the top 1 social media? ›

The latest statistics show that Facebook continues to reign strong as the king of social media, with 2.93 billion active users in 2022. That means that nearly two out of every three of the 4.59 billion social media users across the world are active users of Facebook.

What are 3 forms of social media? ›

Most of us are familiar with social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok. These platforms help us connect with friends, family, and brands. They encourage knowledge-sharing and are all about personal, human-to-human interaction.

What are 5 positives of social media? ›

If you're a regular social media user, you've probably encountered some or all of these positive effects at some point.
  • Building Relationships and Staying Connected. ...
  • Finding Your Voice. ...
  • Showing Empathy and Kindness. ...
  • Offering Support. ...
  • Better Communication. ...
  • Spreading News. ...
  • Building a Business. ...
  • Establishing Authority.
1 Nov 2021

Why social media is important in education? ›

Social media promotes self-directed learning, which prepares students to search for answers and make decisions independently. When reinforced in a classroom setting, these social media skills can be guided and refined to produce better learning outcomes and critical awareness.

What is the role of social media in students life? ›

As social media has no borders or boundaries, it helps students connect with people from across the globe and gain wider knowledge. When students have any confusion while studying, social media really help in gathering relevant information through various online platforms.

How social media affects learning? ›

Past studies have found that students who spend more time on social media sites are likely to demonstrate poor academic performance. This is because they spend time chatting online and making friends on social media sites instead of reading books.

What are the features of social media? ›

The main features of social networking apps and sites include content sharing, follow and send requests, private communication, chat and live video, push notifications, etc.

What is media simple answer? ›

Media is the plural form of medium. It describes any channel of communication. This can include anything from printed paper to digital data. In general, media refers to television, radio, newspaper, internet and other forms of communication.

How do you explain social media to a child? ›

How to Talk About Social Media
  1. Set the tone. Begin your talk in a calm, neutral way. ...
  2. Ask before you tell. Ask your child what apps or platforms they're using. ...
  3. Lead by example. ...
  4. Stay calm. ...
  5. Talk about permanence and privacy. ...
  6. Describe positive and negative online behavior.
4 Mar 2021

Why social media Is Important a short paragraph? ›

The social media platform allows us to share ideas, thoughts, and opinions with other members of society. It also allows us to keep in touch with friends and family. Social media has become a popular tool for companies, which is why its use is becoming more and more widespread.

What is media one sentence? ›

noun. a plural of medium. (usually used with a plural verb) the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, magazines, and the internet, that reach or influence people widely: The media are covering the speech tonight.

How social media affects our lives? ›

However, multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Social media may promote negative experiences such as: Inadequacy about your life or appearance.

How do you introduce social media? ›

How to Launch a Brand on Social Media in 5 Simple Steps
  1. Identify Your Goals. Before you do ANYTHING in marketing or social media for that matter, you absolutely have to know what your end goal is. ...
  2. Identify Your Audience. ...
  3. Set up + Optimize Profiles. ...
  4. Set + Implement Your Strategy. ...
  5. Measure and Optimize.
15 Jan 2016

What are the advantages and disadvantages of social media? ›

Top 10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media
Pros of Social MediaCons of Social Media
Social Media Can Reach Large AudiencesSocial Media Causes Sleep Issues
Government Benefits from Social MediaSocial Media Cause Depression and Loneliness
Entertainment with Social MediaSocial Media Causes Distraction
7 more rows
14 Jun 2022


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