Social media guide
What is social media?
Social media, often referred to as Web 2.0, is the term commonly given to websites, online tools and other interactive technologies that allow users to communicate or collaborate with each other by sharing information, opinions, knowledge and interests. It involves the building of communities or networks, encouraging participation and engagement.
Social media is consumer driven, transparent, engaging, inclusive and sincere.
Social media isn’t controlled, impersonal, exclusive, formal or one-sided.
Examples of social media include:
- Blogs (eg www.ukhighered.blogspot.com)
- Micro-blogs (eg www.twitter.com)
- Discussion forums (eg vwww.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree)
- Social networks (eg www.myspace.com, www.facebook.com)
- Social bookmarks (eg www.delicious.com)
- Social news (eg www.digg.com)
- Wikis / collaboration tools (eg en.wikipedia.org)
- Multimedia-sharing (eg video: www.youtube.com; photographs: www.flickr.com; keynotes and presentations: www.slideshare.net, www.authorstream.com)
Who is using social media?
- 3 out of 4 people online use social networks.
- Overtaken email as the #1 activity on the web (accounts for 17% of all web usage).
- There are over 200 million blogs; 900,000 blog posts every day; 34% of bloggers post opinions about companies, brands and products.
- Facebook has more than 500 million active users who spend 4 billion hours and share 5 billion links, photos and videos every day on Facebook.
- Twitter has 106 million users (with 300,000 new users registering each day) who post over 3 million updates and carry out 600 million searches every day on Twitter.
- YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine and 4th largest site on the web. With 13 hours of video uploaded every minute, it accounts for 58% of all videos streamed online.
- 93% of social media users believe companies should have a presence in social media.
What can you achieve through social media?
Some of the advantages you can gain by adopting these technologies include:
- increased and more effective communications
- transparency across your organisation
- encouraging collaborative knowledge-sharing among partner organisations
- ability to engage and interact with audiences on a wide scale at little or no cost
- demonstrating that your organisation is ‘switched on’ to wider public opinion
Online marketing strategies have moved towards using human engagement and dialogue to drive preference and loyalty. So, by leveraging social technologies in an open and transparent way, you can build more trust among your audience and target markets, and establish collaborative relationships with colleagues and partners.
How to use social media
Information can be disseminated very quickly through social media and is virtually impossible to retract once it has been published. Even if it has only been online for a short time, it may well have been picked up and cached by computers around the world.
It is, therefore, important that employees using social media on behalf of Heriot-Watt follow these guidelines to ensure that all the content published under the Heriot-Watt brand is suitable and appropriate.
These steps are primarily designed to cover informal Heriot-Watt branded presences on third party social networking and microblogging sites: