Being known as ‘Social Scott’ in the office, questions are often posed to me about Social; what it means, who’s using it and most importantly, “where is it all going?”. I’m more than happy to share my feelings on our lovely new blogging platform, a social tool in itself, but thought I’d keep it very top level, starting off with the question on every late adopter’s lips: What is Social Media?
To the vast majority, you will already be aware of this. It’s difficult to define exactly what Social Media is, as there is so much included. A phrase I’ve heard a number of times when discussing the topic with those not so familiar is “Isn’t that like Facebook” – much to my annoyance. How can you define Social Media as one Social network?
Social Media is of course a wide variety of web and mobile technologies that connect individuals with others through communication and user generated content. A lot of people don’t realise that blogs fall under the Social category, and having a blog can be a vital asset in executing a successful Social Media strategy.
Video also plays a big part. Not only is YouTube one of the most popular Social networks, it is also the world’s second largest search engine. Utilising YouTube to its potential to gain followers and drive traffic to your site is simple yet brilliantly effective.
For me, just ‘being on’ Social Media is basic, but not enough on its own. If you’re just using your Twitter and Facebook Pages to push out your company news and nothing else, you’ve got your foot in the door to a limitless and ever-expanding room? It’s important to understand that Social is a conversational medium – you can only be truly successful with Social Media if you are actively engaging with your audience and, equally, if they are engaging with you, too.
These days there are hundreds of infographics posted each week on this site vs that site, the rise of this network etc etc. yet none of them seemed to explain what Social Media actually meant for SME’s. That’s why we produced our own infographic to explain this clearly, and I’m really proud of what we have achieved. Check out our Social Media Infographic over on Visual.ly.
In terms of the future for Social Media, I think one of the most exciting things about it is that we’re not 100% sure where it’s heading. Of course, there is a lot more time and money being invested into Mobile, and Social Media is already the second most popularly accessed medium on Smartphone devices (after news), but there is a still a big debate as to what is the next big thing. Will Google+ be the new Facebook? Will Pinterest redefine Social Sharing or will it become a nightmare for copyright infringement? All I can say is whatever happens expect Social to have an increasing dominance in everything that we do, expanding more into offline than ever before.