Social Media vs Social Networking – they are not the same

Social Media vs Social Networking – they are not the same

They may seem like two descriptions of the same thing; however there is a big difference between Social Media and Social Networking.connected people
connected-peopleJust as radio, newspaper and television deliver different types of media, social media is another way to get your message out there. Although social media works as a one-to-many communication method, it is distinctive from advertising in that it is interactive: it seeks to engage with people. Unlike traditional media, it is the engagement quality and relevance of the content that matters, not attention grabbing design, placement and repetition.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, are examples of social media and social networking channels. They are the platforms on which social networking takes place or they can be used to promote social media, and like traditional media forms, the platform dictates the way the content is crafted and delivered. There is some overlap and integration with social media and social networking. Social media experts say that Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are whole package platforms — and are considered both social media (tools) and social networking (a way to engage). YouTube is a tool for video, so it’s social media. Chatting with other colleagues on LinkedIn? That’s social networking. Both work together for your overall social media strategy.

Once you get the distinction clear in your head, you will find it easier to develop a comprehensive and effective social media strategy.

Social Media

Blog – e-newsletter – video clip – slide show – podcast – article – e-Book – webinar.

Social media can help you build your brand, your credibility or reputation in your field of expertise or product line. It is a way to increase exposure, and can easily be shared, helping you to grow your following and enhance your promotional efforts. More importantly, you can include links in your blog and other social media that drive traffic directly to your website and your Social Networking sites.

Social media comprises the content that you upload — whether that’s a blog, video, slideshow, podcast, newsletter or an eBook. Once you decide which of these is best suited to how you want to engage with your audience you can begin planning your social media strategy.trio Social Media

trio-social-mediaSocial Networking

Social networking is effectively you – or a representative of you – online engaging with your online network in the same way you might network face to face, but with far greater reach. After choosing what media you are going to use, begin with social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to engage with your audience.

Having a Facebook business page for you and your brand is essential. Not only is it the best place to find your target market, you are able to reach them on a social level when they are actively seeking engagement. What’s more, Facebook page insights offer a high level of measurability of what works, what doesn’t, whether you are reaching your market demographic, how often you are shared and when your level of reach is greatest. Each week you can measure and adjust the time, type and frequency of your posts to where your engagement is most successful.

Twitter is ideal for building a following of people interested in receiving bite-sized insights or updates on you and what your business has to offer. Cake of the day, latest listings, progress on your next book, a small triumphant moment or great feedback from a client that made your day. These little snippets can help you build rapport and offer a more personal touch for those customers or fans that are loyal to you.

LinkedIn is a good place to grow your network of peers, build a reputation for being knowledgeable and form connections with potential add-value partnerships. Referrals from complementary businesses whose clients are also looking for what you can offer could be a good way for you to gain traction in a new market or geographical area.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter also provide you many opportunities to connect with your prospective audience through web links, posts, news stories, notes, photo sharing, blog posts, direct messages, questions and comments. Eventually you may want to branch out with other social networking platforms like Google+ and Pinterest.two-way-street

two-way-streetRemember: social networking is all about engagement. This means creating relationships, communicating with your network, building your following and connecting with your online audience. If you treat social networking like just another form of media, you will come off as someone only interested in pushing a sales message. If you were in a real social situation, would you want to engage with the person in the room pressing their card into everyone’s palm and talking about their latest deals and what they can sell you? It’s important to listen as much as talk with social networking.

Your social networking goal and strategy

Your social networking goal is to interact, converse and create conversation. Ways you can go about this include searching existing conversations, beginning new conversations. You can set alerts to monitor when your name appears so that you can respond when mentioned or liked for a comment, and use this to find new ways to connect – just like picking up a common thread to introduce yourself to someone at a networking event.

It is important to realise that social networking is not about instant gratification. You have to play the long game, as it will take time to build relationships and grow your following. Work for buzz and excitement on your business, product or service. Remember that people naturally gravitate towards people who they find relatable and who have similar experiences and interests. Investing in relationships can build loyal fans who will support you in your endeavours and in turn introduce you to more potential fans.

The value of brand you

To develop your digital strategy, decide which types of media you want to create and use social networking to build up your following so you can brand yourself rather than simply promote the products or services you offer.

By actively increasing the value of your personal brand and reaching the right people with your unique message, your online presence will work for you in much the same way as being personally in front of someone. With each contact you are building recognition for who you are and what you do as well as a rapport of likeability and trust.

Once you successfully have your social media and social networking strategies working in harmony, you will be more connected with your audience and be able to more effectively promote your business through sharing and interacting with a growing network of contacts.