In this highly modernized world where technology is already considered as a prime commodity for many people, it’s still no surprise how many of us still get confused between the use of social media and social networks. I used to think that these two terms can be used interchangeably, but to my amazement, they’re actually two totally different terms that hold totally different meanings. In order to maximize the use of social media and social networks, whether for personal or business purposes, it is important to understand their distinctions and know when and how to use which.
To put it simply…
Social media is a means of communication wherein you can upload and share any type of media or content, such as pictures, videos, blogs, eBooks, podcasts, etc. Anyone who has access to the internet and your site would be able to share and post their comments to the content that you have uploaded. Consider social media as a system for broadcasting information. Social networks, social news, media sharing, bookmarking sites, blog comments, microblogging and forums are forms of social media.
Social network, on the other hand, is one of the forms of social media that allow us to connect with other people who share the same background and interests. It is like a meeting place for people with like-minds to hang out, directly communicate with each other and engage in conversations that could eventually lead to building relationships. Social networking sites give you the ability to create your own profile and choose the people you want to connect with by adding them to your list or creating groups. Two of the most popular social networking sites are Facebook and Twitter. You call your network of people as friends or followers on Facebook and Twitter, respectively. Building good relationships is essential in order for your social network to grow.
Goals and Strategies
The main goal of social media is to disseminate information and promote content. First, you need to decide on what type of media you would like to broadcast. For a writer like me, a good example is a blog or an eBook. I can increase my exposure and promote myself as an author through the use of my blogs. I can also insert links on my blogs that would direct my readers to my eBook, therefore, generating traffic to my site. But since social media is only a one-way communication channel, I would not be able to interact and build relationships with my readers.
Although social network also depends greatly on online traffic, its purpose vary for different types of people. Some people use their social network for business and/or marketing purposes, while others use it for their personal pleasure. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, the goal is still to be able to create and develop relationships with your own network. The key to doing this is simple, and that is through conversation. Unlike social media that only provides a one-way channel, the social network works as a two-way bridge that allows interaction among you and the people on your network. Remember that people, like us, prefer to surround ourselves with others who share relatable experiences and similar interests. When you invest in these types of relationships, you are sure to create loyal fans for your site.
Integrating Social Media and Social Networking
Throughout this article, it has been emphasized that social media and social network are as different as day and night. But, just like the day and night, these two do have some overlap. One thing that they have in common is that they both depend on the number of people that pays interest to the content. Viral marketing comes in handy in order to attract more people that could generate more online traffic. The more people you attract, the better the chances of your site to become truly successful. Integrating social media with social network even increases your chances in attracting more and more people.
Social media experts believe that Facebook and Twitter can be used as social media and social network at the same time. They are known as whole package platforms since you can use them as tools for uploading media – pictures and videos, and simultaneously build relationships by engaging in conversations with the people on your network.
Keep this in mind: it all depends on the strategy. Think of a media that you want to share and you can use the social network to build up your following. It is as simple as this: the social media would help you make your connections and the social network would help you enhance those connections. It’s amazing how being able to have these two work together in harmony can bring success to you and your site.