Social media are basically interactive technologies which allow the generation or sharing/ exchange of ideas, opinions, interests, and basically any other types of expression through virtual networks and online communities. These can be made of social networks (such as Friendster, Orkut, Facebook), blogs (MySpace or Twitter), and websites such as WordPress, Blogger, WordPress Express, Blogger 2.0, LiveJournal or MyBlogLog. Basically, any type of communication is possible between two or more people, not necessarily only human beings. It has become a very vital tool in marketing and promoting products and services to an extent.
Social media are the ideal platforms for companies to engage their target audience directly in the development and launching of new products or services. Nowadays, most of the companies use social media as a means to engage and interact with their customers. Engaging in social network allows the company to convert a potential customer into a actual one by just sharing a message with him or her. There is no need to send thousands of messages to a person whom you have never met or discussed anything about; instead, by just exchanging a few words or a simple message, you can instantly start a real-time conversation with that person. This has paved the way for companies to promote their new products or services on a bigger platform with ease.
Apart from being used for direct communication, social media allows you to connect with millions of users at the same time. Social media allows you to interact with your customers and prospects face to face, share opinions and ideas with them, and also provides tools for better organization of tasks and communications. The main advantage of social media is that it allows you to easily increase your brand awareness amongst the audience without having to spend a single cent on advertising. What’s more, once you have engaged a user in a conversation or shared a message with them, companies are able to keep that user as a regular customer as they keep updating their profile and keeping in touch with them through a series of messages. As far as features and functionalities go, nothing beats what social media allows you to get for free.