Social media has become an indispensable part of our personal lives. Counting all of its members, Facebook is the third largest country in the world next to China and India. Every second two new members join LinkedIn which in total is equal to the entire enrollment of the Ivy League Universities. Social media not only affects individuals but businesses as well. Social media is used for many business functions like marketing, sales, product launches and recruiting. How does social media relate to entrepreneurial ventures?

Social media is media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. It is categorized based on content. The first category is rich content that contains social media like podcasts, videos and YouTube. The second category is real time content like chat, Twitter tweets and LinkedIn updates. The third category is social applications like blogs, wikis, bookmarks and tags. The fourth category is social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Foursquare.

Because social media contains such varied content, it is perfect to leverage for entrepreneurs. But what is the value of social media? Social media is not just about the technology, but rather how to experiment, learn and enable meaningful engagement. First, social media can be used for marketing. It can be used for building awareness, demand and lead creation and all this at relatively low costs. It also increases customer engagement, dialogue and advocacy. This can be done through rich content, social category and social networking platforms. Second, social media can be used for talent management. It can be used for recruiting new talent and training employees. This can be achieved using rich content and social networking platforms. Third, social media can be used for project management. It can be used to share content and find experts when needed. This can be achieved by using real-time content and social networking platforms. Fourth, social media can be used for innovation. It can be used for crowdsourcing ideas from customers, suppliers and employees. This can be achieved using social networking platforms.

Understanding what social media actually means and its value is the first step in using it effectively. In the next blog, I will cover how social media can help improve business practices so stay tuned!