I had an interesting conversation recently about social media. It seems that a lot of business owners kind of know what it means. If you ask them about it they’ll say “oh is that like facebook or something?” or “it’s media that’s social”. But if you try to dig deeper into what that actually means you’ll get a mixture of answers.
Social media is media that is social. But it goes beyond Facebook or MySpace. Social media is any type of media in which there is, at least, a two-way conversation – usually a multi-way conversation. Social media is about engaging the audience and having them respond to you and to each other.
Social media is also about a philosophy of listening (instead of shouting). Just using media that is social does not make it that way. If you have a blog but never reach out to your readers and never respond to what they are saying, you’re not being very social. Even if you don’t have a blog, you can listen to what your customers are saying on their blogs and respond to their concerns.
Social media are primarily Internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences. – Wikipedia – Social Media
Let me highlight the most important aspect of this definition:
“building” of shared meaning among communities
Social media is not just about your story or your company’s story. It’s about the shared meaning you create with your customers as you interact with them and they with each other.
What story are you building with your customers?
(photo by victoriapeckham @ Flickr CC)