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You may hear the term social media being thrown around a lot, but you may still be unsure of what exactly does this term mean. If you are in this situation you are not alone. There are plenty of other internet users, and even internet marketers, who do not fully understand the term. They may be able to rattle off a few social media websites but they do not know how powerful these tools can be for promoting a website.

social media site

Take a look at the term social media. In general, media is typically referred to as a way of transmitting information. For example television, radio, newspapers, magazines and the internet are all forms of media. However, of these five only the internet is usually thought of as social media because the internet enables the reader to interact more readily with the website. Sure there can be interaction with other types of media. Television and radio programs may allow people to call in and participate and newspapers and magazines usually accept letters from readers, but these interactions are not as immediate or as comprehensive as online interactions. For this reason most social media is considered to be via websites.

There are a variety of different types of websites which are considered to be social media websites. Websites which allow social networking such as FaceBook and LinkedIn are two examples of popular social media websites. Popular wikis are also examples of social media. These websites inspire interaction by allowing the community of users to supply the information on the website. There are also social news websites such as Digg, where community members highlight important events around them and other users comment on the quality of these articles and make recommendations to other users. There are also social media websites for video and photo enthusiasts such as YouTube and Flickr. These websites allow users to share videos and photos and comment on videos and photos uploaded by other users.

Social media sites include:

  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Forums
  • Social Bookmarking
  • User Reviews and Ratings (Digg, Reddit)

Now that you know what social media is, you might wonder what you it can do for you? The obvious answer is social media can provide you with an online outlet as well as the opportunity to interact with your peers. However, if you are an online business owner, social media can offer you so much more. As an online business owner social medial can offer you the opportunity to reach a larger audience than ever before. By not just registering with these types of websites but becoming an active participant, you can build credibility for yourself and your business. In this way you help to make your products or services more appealing to potential customers.