By Robert Bellinir

Some wholesale and surplus enterprises have been reluctant to implement social media in a way that adds to the bottom line. The ANME NEWS will be presenting a three-part series to aid those of our readers who would like to know more about the whole process in an easy-to-understand format. Part 1 describes what social media is all about and the different forms that social media can take.

One of the things to consider is that social media is not a fad that’s going to disappear. Those small businesses who were quick to jump on the bandwagon and took the time to understand social media marketing have already taken their businesses miles ahead of the competition. Over the next decade, we can expect social media’s role in small business marketing and the surplus industry to grow by leaps and bounds.

So what is social media? By definition, social media refers to the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. (Wikipedia)

So how big is social media? It’s huge! To give you an idea of how huge here are some recent stats.

• There are more than 750 million active users on social networking site Facebook.
• There are more than 156 million blogs.
• There are more than 490 million YouTube videos.

Social Media by Characteristics 

The best way to understand social media is to explain some of social media’s characteristics.

Openness: The majority of social media venues promote leaving comments, voting, sharing information, and removing barriers making content open to everyone.
Connectedness: Social media thrives on being connected with other people, resources, sites, blogs, etc.
Conversation: Traditional media is one way communication whereas social media is more of a two-way conversation.
Participation: Social media promotes everyone to contribute and provide feedback. Media and audience blur together.
Community: Social media sees communities quickly sprout up based on common interests.

5 Basic Forms of Social Media 

There are five basic forms of social media. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Social Networks 

These are sites where people build personal and business web pages and then connect with their Friends and/or Family to communicate, share content and share photos. There are a many social networks although most of us think of Facebook right away.

2. Forums

Forums came before social media and were an important predecessor that remains important today.  These are sites were online discussion are around a specific hobby, topic, or interest. Information is shared and exchanged and online communities are built.

3. Blogs 

Blogs are a well-known and popular form of social media. A blog is like an online journal. It can be personal or business. They can be based on a specific topic such as fashion or real estate, or they can be more like a diary discussing daily events or news.

4. Content Communities

 Content communities organize and share based on a specific type of content such as videos or photos. YouTube is the biggest content community. There are others such as Flickr or

 5. Micro-blogging 

Micro-blogging combines social networking and micro blogs, which are the equivalent of little sound bites. It’s the perfect way of sharing information for mobile devices. Twitter is an excellent example of micro-blogging and they are considered the leader in the micro-blogging arena.

How Social Media Networks Work 

The Internet opened the door to creating one’s own content and distributing that content to many people. Yet, just 5 years ago, it was still beyond the technical skills of most. However, today anyone can create their own content and easily distribute it to the masses. Anyone can take advantage of social media whether it is using a blog, Facebook, Twitter, or any number of other social media avenues.

Social networks grow and prosper when web surfers find a social media network they want to join, so they sign up, create their profile, and begin to connect with friends, family, coworkers, and contacts. They invite others to join the social network, and those people invite more people and suddenly the social media network has exploded in popularity. 

Social Media Marketing 

Social Media Marketing is a type of internet marketing that focuses on branding to create product and brand recognition. This type of marketing utilizes social media to create marketing strategies using the various social media networks that are available. Social media describes the activities that occur including photos, videos, content and social interaction.  Social media is a powerful tool that can aid your business in reaching your online goals, including:

  • Increased traffic to your web pages
  • Converting a visitor to a buyer
  • Sales tracking
  • Offering updates and coupons to customers
  • Page exposure
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Business development

How to Create Activity with Social Media 

The Internet lets businesses interact with web surfers allowing businesses to create and promote their content by using the right strategy.  Simply stated, businesses can reach targeted traffic and key influencers with social media. To finish up Part 1 in our series, let’s look at some important tips that can help your business get a better understanding of social media marketing.