Many contemporary businesses have social media as their main agenda. In spite of the growing popularity of social media among today’s business executives, not many have a firm understanding of the real meaning of social media.
Social media can be defined as a group of applications based on the Internet that dwells on the technological and ideological foundations of Web 2.0 and enables the development and sharing of the User Generated Content (UGC).
Social media applications can be categorized in a variety of ways and Youtube, Facebook, Wikipedia, and Second Life are some examples of social media applications.
Collaborative projects and blogs have the lowest score with respect to media richness and social presence.
The score of blogs is higher than that of collaborative projects with respect to self-presentation and self-disclosure.
UGC’s most democratic manifestation is collaborative projects.
Blogs provide business executives with the opportunity to keep the stakeholders updated on the latest advancements and offerings made by the company whereas the challenges associated with it include the ability of stakeholders to provide damaging information about the company.
Social networking sites provide the opportunity of conducting marketing research and creating brand communities, and can even be used as distribution channels.
Virtual game worlds are used for in-game advertising and communication campaigns.
Content can be created and sold over virtual social worlds in exchange for Linden Dollars.
To make the best use of social media, business executives should choose it carefully, decide whether making or buying it is better, create alignment between social media activities, plan media integration, and establish access controls for the stakeholders.
Relationships over social media can be fostered by being active, interesting, humble, unprofessional, and honest.