Understanding Social Media Channels

As Marketing professional or a management professional, one needs to be in tune with the current trends, especially in terms of the media channels and be ahead of the customers. Social Media networking has brought about phenomenal changes to the consumer behavior. While traditionally print media, Audio and Video media were one sided communication channels providing information through advertisement to the readers and viewers with or without their approval, the social media channels on the other hand are interactive and controlled by the consumers themselves.

Advertising to the prospective customers in current times involves using multiple mediums including print, TV, Websites, Blogs, You Tube, Facebook, Flickr and onsite etc. Marketing Companies today have no option but to be available in all leading channels. Therefore drawing up a communication and advertising strategy calls for designing a separate social media strategy after understanding all about Social Media Networks, the Consumer Behavior, the Characteristics and importantly the different elements.

Some of the most popular channels of social web happen to be the blogs, social networks, photo-sharing sites, audio (Pod Cast) and video sharing, Wikis, Email, SMS and micro-blogging etc. In this section we shall briefly discuss blogs and wikis which happen to be very popular medium of conversation on the web.

Blogs

A blog is a webpage where people post comments, reviews or write about a given topic and share information. Bloggers first started writing blogs as single author pages and the viewers would then start commenting and the discussions would ensue in the form of posts. However in recent times, the professional blogging has come of age where multiple authors write and contribute to the blogs on various subjects and topics. You can find blogs in almost all fields including personal, professional, business related, academic and research etc. In fact the blogs from Universities, Research and interest based groups in on the increase. Unlike earlier where blogs were maintained by individuals, the trend now has shifted to blogs being written by multiple authors enhancing the content as well as quality of discussions.

Until a few years ago, the blogs used to contain text messages or posts. In current times the professional blogs contain video, audio and image clippings etc. making it an enriching experience for viewers. Marketing companies use such blogs for online brand building and advertising.

The fact that the world wide web contains more than 175 million blogs speaks for its popularity as a channel.

Every marketing manager and management student would need to take time to go through various types of blogs and understand all about them. One should be able to identify the theme of the blog, estimate the volume of posts, see the pattern of comments and the posts and be able to feel the pulse of the individuals. Understanding the tone and the way in which discussions are held and moderated will give one an idea of how to use this channel effectively for online marketing.

Terminology & Resources

The blogging community is referred to by the trade as ‘Blogsphere’. Similar to websites, the blogs too contain link backs, blog rolls and other features that enable the various blogs to be interconnected and network with one another.

To search for blogs on various topics, several blog search engines are available namely Technorati, Blog Scope etc. They provide search options to look for the recent and popular tags used in blog postings etc.

Online community of bloggers namely BlogCatalog, Global Voices and many more sites provide connections to multiple bloggers and groups too.

Several marketing companies and businesses create and maintain their own blogs created solely for the purpose of promoting their products and advertising for the same. Such companies engage the services of professional bloggers to create post content in line with the social media strategy design given by the Company.


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