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Social Media vs. Social Networking

By Jeri Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International   March 19, 2014

Takeaways: Social media is different from social networking. Social media are the tools you use to communicate online. Social networking is the content you share to inform and communicate with your target audience.

What is Social media? How is it different from social networking? Think of social media as tools you use to communicate with your target audience.

Your mechanic uses tools to fix your car. You use social media tools to inform and communicate with your prospects and customers. They happen to be called Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,  and so on.

Social networking, by contrast, is the act of communicating using these tools. You do this by sharing content that is relevant and of interest to your audience. Perhaps it’s a new contest your company is sponsoring to get more likes on Facebook or to add to your email list. Or maybe it’s a post on LinkedIn announcing a recent promotion or success your company has had.

What you say and do using these social media tools and when you do this are key steps to building a following and engaging with your customers and prospects. Understanding who your target audience is in terms of their age, income, family status, and hobbies, and researching which tools they tend to use, help you determine the right tools to use at the right time.

Just as with traditional media (print, radio, TV), your customers and prospects are not watching TV, listening to the same radio stations, or reading the same publications all at the same time. You need to know what media they read, listen to, and watch and which times of day and days of the week are the best to reach them. The same is true for social media. Knowing who you’re trying to reach and when they will be online and which tools they will be using are critical components to having success with social media.

You can find a host of social media resources on our website to help you research and manage your social media strategy. And for tips about improving your own social media efforts, just click this link or fill out the form below. I’ll send you an email every 2 weeks with a key tip to help you improve your presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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