Social Media Optimization

Social Media In Costa Rica

SMO

Social media describes websites that allow users to share content, media, etc. Common examples are the popular social networking sites like Friendster, Facebook, MySpace, etc. Social media also includes YouTube, Photobucket, Flickr, and other sites aimed at photo and video sharing. News aggregation and online reference sources, examples of which are Digg and Wikipedia, are also counted in the social media bucket.

Now that many corporations have mastered the tricky art of signing up for a Twitter or Facebook account, the next step is leveraging social media tools in a meaningful way that impacts your brand and your bottom line.

Social Media Experts

If you know more than 5 people, chances are you now know someone who declares themselves a social media expert. How can you tell if someone's claim of expertise is legit? Here's my quick quiz. Ask each question and take the appropriate action:
1: Do you have a blog?

If the expert answers 'no', that may be OK. Follow up with something like 'Oh, you're using Posterous instead?'. If they look at you blankly, end the meeting there. No sense wasting your time.

If the expert answers 'yes', get the address and go look. If they've been blogging for less than 2-3 years, and there's no explanation like "I had to move my blog", again, end the meeting.

Any social media expert has been somehow participating in the conversation for a long time.
2: When did you start in social media?

"6 months ago". Yeah. OK. Bye.

"2 years ago". Hey, not bad. Worth a chat.

"In 1992". Er. Um. They'd better be referencing BBSes and Usenet.
3: What is social media?

"Blogging and Twitter and stuff". Excuse yourself for a bathroom break and don't come back.

"All of the conversations going on between people and people and businesses and such online". Not bad.

"A trendy term to describe a new kind of mass media". Totally acceptable.

Social Networks

Social Networking - It's the way the 21st century communicates now. Want to know what it really means?

Social networking is the grouping of individuals into specific groups, like small rural communities or a neighborhood subdivision, if you will. Although social networking is possible in person, especially in the workplace, universities, and high schools, it is most popular online. This is because unlike most high schools, colleges, or workplaces, the internet is filled with millions of individuals who are looking to meet other people, to gather and share first-hand information and experiences about golfing, gardening, aesthetics and cosmetic surgery, developing friendships or professional alliances, finding employment, business-to-business marketing and even groups sharing information about the end of the Mayan calendar and the Great Shift. The topics and interests are as varied and rich as our society and the history of the human being.

When it comes to online social networking, websites are commonly used. These websites are known as social
sites. Social networking websites function like an online community of internet users. Depending on the website in question, many of these online community members share common interests in hobbies, religion, or politics. Once you are granted access to a social networking website you can begin to socialize. This socialization may include reading the profile pages of other members and possibly even contacting them.

The friends that you can make are just one of the many benefits to social networking online. Another one of those benefits includes diversity because the internet gives individuals from all around the world access to social networking sites. This means that although you are in the United States, you could develop an online friendship with someone in Denmark or India. Not only will you make new friends, but you just might learn a thing or two about new cultures or new languages and learning is always a good thing.

As mentioned, social networking often involves grouping specific individuals or organizations together. While there are a number of social networking websites that focus on particular interests, there are others that do not. The websites without a main focus are often referred to as "traditional" social networking websites and usually have open memberships. This means that anyone can become a member, no matter what their hobbies, beliefs, or views are. However, once you are inside this online community, you can begin to create your own network of friends and eliminate members that do not share common interests or goals.

As I'm sure you're aware, there are dangers associated with social networking including data theft and viruses, which are on the rise. The most prevalent danger though often involves online predators or individuals who claim to be someone that they are not. Although danger does exist with networking online, it also exists with networking out in the real world, too. Just like you're advised when meeting strangers at clubs and bars, school, or work -- you are also advised to proceed with caution online. By being aware of your cyber-surroundings and who you are talking to, you should be able to safely enjoy social networking online. It will take many phone conversations to get to know someone, but you really won't be able to make a clear judgement until you can meet each other in person. Just use common sense and listen to your inner voice; it will tell you when something doesn't feel right about the online conversations taking place.

Once you are well informed and comfortable with your findings, you can begin your search from hundreds of networking communities to join. This can easily be done by performing a standard internet search. Your search will likely return a number of results, including MySpace, FriendWise, FriendFinder, Yahoo! 360, Facebook, Orkut, and Classmates.

New stats from Nielsen Online show that by the end of 2008, social networking had overtaken email in terms of worldwide reach. According to the study, 66.8% of Internet users across the globe accessed “member communities” last year, compared to 65.1% for email. The most popular online activities remain search and Web portals (with around 85% reach) and the websites of software manufacturers.

The far-reaching study also explored a number of other trends within the social networking space. In 2008, users spent 63% more time on member communities than they did in the previous year. However, within member communities, Facebook saw growth of 566% in time spent on it by users worldwide. As has been reported elsewhere, Facebook’s fastest growth demographic is older users – the social network tacked on 12.4 million people between ages 35-49 in 2008 according to Nielsen.