Uses for Social Media


11 Uses for Social Media

By ACS Distance Education on October 28, 2016 in Business and Management | comments

People have a natural need to interact with each other, both for psychological health and wellbeing, as well as more practical reasons, such as buying, selling or swapping things.

Social media has become a medium that facilitates easy communication 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Many people join social media groups to interact and connect with others; while some people are pressured into joining groups either socially or through their work. Research has found that the main reason people join social media groups, is to establish an online identity i.e. to show the outside world who we are and what we do. The next most significant reason is to network, to connect with others in order to build relationships, and to feel that we belong to a ‘community’.

In general everyday people use social media to:

  • Connect and stay in touch with family and/or friends.

  • To share or find information – such as photos, videos or expertise etc. Or to stay in touch with current events and news.

  • To co-ordinate events such as parties, exhibitions, demonstrations etc.

  • Connect with professional colleagues, in order to stay up to date with the "state of play" in their profession. In some respects social media can replace the role that industry publications, professional associations and conferences once fulfilled.

  • Connect with people who have a shared interest, to pursue and enjoy that interest. Bird watchers for instance would in the past, have connected with other bird watchers by joining a club and going on excursions together; but today, birdwatchers from all around the world might connect on social media through bird watching groups.

  • Provide entertainment; to watch friends and families, to follow celebrities (voyeurism), to play games.

  • Initiating relationships, thus partially replacing a role once fulfilled by other things. People who in the past may have met friends, partners and spouses at a social group or event; might now do so via the internet.

  • Research – customers search for and compare products, suppliers conduct market research using social media.

  • Shop, (clothing/fashion is still the most searched for product).

  • Research holiday destination, find accommodation etc.

  • To interact with businesses or service providers.

Purposes of Social Media

Different types of social media have different purposes. You need to be measured and informed of the extent to which a social media can or might be used for purposes beyond its intended purpose.
If the purpose is for bird watchers to connect with each other, but the site becomes overwhelmed by companies wanting to sell things to bird watchers, the initial purpose becomes obscured among the marketing hype and the site will become less popular.

Social Media Variables

What sort of people can or do join the platform? Some types of social media applications control what you can post for example: video, photos, the number of words, the type of people who can join, the way they interact etc. For example:

  • Groups – people can join groups or circles (that have a special interest focus to them it may be a hobby or it may be a professional network).
  • Sharing or linking with other social media sites; posts on LinkedIn can also be sent to twitter; blogs can be sent to twitter or facebook; tweets can be displayed on blogs; youtube videos can be displayed on facebook or on twitter or on your blog. Updates can also be linked e.g. facebook/blog/twitter.

Choose What You Use

Many social media applications will have a specific purpose, and rules that are designed to support that purpose and control abuse of the facility. Be careful not to breach the rules, because doing so can lead to your account being suspended, worse still it may result in a negative impact on the credibility of your business.

Groups will often have administrators who stand guard and protect the group from abuse for example: if you try to promote something that is not appropriate or relevant to a group, you are likely to encounter problems