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why is social media importantRecently, Facebook celebrated its 10th anniversary. What was once a website just for Harvard’s student body rapidly became an Internet phenomenon that changed the way we interact. Currently, Facebook boasts 1.23 billion monthly active users, according to reports,and helped inspire other successful networking platforms.

These social media sites have changed the way we interact with each other. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Vine and more make it simple to stay connected in people’s lives. You can easily catch up with friends with their statuses, photos and videos they post. And social media is not just important for your personal life, it is also a great tool for businesses or anyone trying to develop their professional network or look for a job.

With all the social media sites and applications popping up every year, it can be tricky to keep up and navigate through them. Each one has something different to offer depending on what you are looking for and can benefit you in many different ways. Before you dive in, get to know about each social media platform and what it can offer you with this introductory course. In it, you will learn how to set up accounts on different websites, as well as basic social media terminology.

Using Social Media for Personal Use

Social media’s big draw is that it is a quick and easy way to connect with friends and loved ones. You can share exciting news about your life through statuses, pictures and videos. Or you can share details about your day, basically you can share anything you want about your life. For family living miles away, it gives them a chance to feel like they are a part of your life without a plane ticket or long-distance phone calls. Probably the best social media platform for this purpose is Facebook. This particular site combines statuses, photos, video and more, being the optimal site for sharing your life with others.

For those looking to get to know people — maybe you have moved to a new town — Twitter offers more of an opportunity to network and get to know people. There are Twitter meet-ups all over and there are most likely a few in your town. This is a great way to meet people in a casual environment. Twitter also utilizes hashtags, so you can see what other people are talking about. Look up the hashtag for your city, and you will be connected with people talking about it or sharing information about the place you reside.

Using Social Media for Business

When it comes to your business, it is important to be on as many social media sites as possible. These sites offer many different options to share information and have different users on each one. As a result, the more sites your business is on, the more eyes will see it. As mentioned before, there are different benefits to different sites, and it is important that you are comfortable using each one.

Facebook allows users to get to know your business more intimately. You can communicate through status updates, photos, messages and more. The key to being successful with Facebook is interaction. If patrons post a question on your page, respond! The more you respond and interact with the people who “Like” your page, the more they will talk about your business to others and share your page, getting you more “Likes.” Of course, interaction isn’t the only thing that will get you noticed. You have to tell your followers what is going on with your business: update them with statuses, photos, links and more. If you provide useful information to your followers, it will make them want to engage with you more. For those unfamiliar, it might be overwhelming at first to start up a Facebook page. This course will help with starting your business on Facebook.

With Twitter, you can share news and updates about your business quickly. Like Facebook, it is important for you to interact with your followers. It also gives you a chance to find like-minded people through hashtags, which were mentioned before. If you are tweeting about Tedx, you can hashtag it as #Tedx and your tweet will be put in any searches with ‘Tedx’ in it. Using hastags this way can help not only other people discover you, but help you discover people who are talking about the same topic. You can interact with them through this method and hopefully find new fans and followers of your business. Like starting off with Facebook, creating your first tweet and gaining followers can be daunting. Twitter has 465 million users and it can also be overwhelming when deciding which accounts to follow for your page. Of course, you want to find accounts that relate to your business and give you news and updates that fit with your interests. To get started with Twitter, we offer this course for businesses.

Instagram is a great show-and-tell social media tool. Like Twitter, it utilizes hashtags to make it easier for like-minded people to discover your business and follow you. This social media platform is great for those in the retail business because you can use it to show off new arrivals. Own a bakery and want to fill your account with decadent pastries and desserts? Take photos of goods baked fresh that day and post them online with the appropriate hashtags. Own a boutique and have new arrivals for spring? Fashionistas scour Instagram daily in order to find new styles and brands. Put your new arrivals out there and tag them to get people’s attention. Like Twitter, the more you use hashtags, the more you will be able to find people with similar interests who are also in your field. You will be able to network with people in your town and all over the world. To get started on Instagram, we offer this course specifically for businesses to engage with their customers.

Get Your Name Out Professionally

Social media is also important if you are job searching or about to dive into your field. Hiring managers search online for candidate’s names, so you want to make a good impression with your online persona as well. LinkedIn is probably the best site to network and connect with professionals in your field, as it is the largest professional network in the world. First, you need to build a profile for yourself that will make you stand out from the millions of users on the site. To better build your profile, we offer this course that will help get you connections and develop your professional reputation.

Like LinkedIn, Twitter can also help you network with professionals in a more casual way. If you are job hunting and your Twitter profile is public, make sure your tweets are professional, informational and interesting. These traits will get you more followers and help you get noticed.

These are just a few ways why social media is important to our professional and personal lives. These sites allow you to exchange information quickly and easily, catch up with friends and family and potentially get hired in the field you are eying. The more you use social media, the more you will benefit from it as well. After a little while, you will be a social media master with friends, followers and connections all over the country or even world.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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