Insurance marketing: understanding social media
What's the difference between “social media” and “social networking”?
Essentially, social media describes the tools users utilize to do social networking. To put it another way, social networking is the act of sharing information and communicating online, while social media sites are the venues for that worldwide conversation.
That's an important word: conversation. That's what social media is: One big conversation. Or, more accurately, it's millions of smaller conversations going on in one big place.
And everything that happens in that huge forum for communication, you've probably done before. If you've ever given someone advice or asked for it yourself, given or received a recommendation, collaborated on a project or worked with a group, or had any shared experience, you've participated in a form of social networking.
The only difference between that type of interaction and what people do on Facebook and Twitter is that the latter uses technology to connect people; the former just happens in person.
Just like in-person interaction, online social networking is not one-way communication. It's more like call-and-response. Back-and-forth.
For every message you send, you could potentially expect to get as many as a dozen or more responses--both good and bad.
Or, if you get off to a bad start and turn people off with an offensive or inappropriate statement, everything you do from then on could land with a resounding thud.
For most casual users, a social media profile is something they consider to be their own personal space, where they can keep up with friends and family, talk about things they like, play games, even get the daily news.
Most don't want that space invaded by spammers or advertisers who seemingly do nothing but make noise in their news or Twitter feeds.
If you were to jump right into someone's Twitter or Facebook feed with talk about all the great deals and great service you can offer, you'll probably get defriended, unfollowed or blocked.
It would be the equivalent of stepping in the middle of someone else's family picnic and trying to sell policies there. You'd get angry looks at best, and most likely kicked to the curb.
More on social networking: