7 Social Media Tools you may not think are connected but really are!

Overloaded by the prolific number of social media tools available today?  Some seem to play well with others, but do they all have anything in common?  If you answered yes to question one or were intrigued by question two, keep reading!

What is the overarching common thread between all social media tools?

Li and Bernoff write in their book groundswell:  winning in a world transformed by social technologies that the groundswell is the transformation of how people get information.  Prior to social media, people tended to get information directly from corporations.  With social media, people can get information directly from each other.  Effective use of social media is all about developing relationships and engaging your audience.  The seven tools evaluated in this blog all have this in common!

So why should you keep reading now that you know the commonality of all social media?  To learn to discern commonalities among subgroups of social media tools, as well as differentiate between subgroups.

Seven Social Media Tools

The seven tools that I have considered are:

 Consumer Focused

The first four tools are consumer-focused.  Meetup allows individuals to connect with groups and groups to get organized for get-togethers.  Yelp allows consumers to rate local businesses.  Turntable creates an online space for individuals to congregate and listen to music.  Finally, Doodle is an easy way to poll and schedule groups to mutually select good dates and times for activities.

These four tools are all consumer-focused, but what else do they have in common?  They allow consumers to interact with each other and make some element of life easier and enjoyable.  Meetup and Doodle are activity based, while Yelp can help make decisions based on reviews and feedback.  Turntable is a bit different from the others in that it is more about enjoyment and learning about new music, but it still allows interaction between individuals to create an online space that is “safe” for self-expression.  People may want to expand their music listening horizons but their close friends do not appreciate their taste in music; Turntable is an option for them because it allows people to connect who otherwise do not interact in life.  The same could be true with Meetup, except with Meetup the goal is that the people do actually get to interact.  Meetup and Doodle encourage real interaction, while Turntable focuses on online interaction only.  Yelp is a way for people to get information to make informed decisions about where to connect.

Can you think of any social media applications which are used only by consumers and not by business?  Do you think this will change in the future and business will start taking advantage of the applications as well?

Consumer and Business Joint Focused

The other three tools are used by both consumers and businesses.  Twitter enables people and businesses to share information in short text-message like communications.  With Digg, people can “digg” or “like” a piece of media (story, photo, video, etc) and the most popular media are highlighted on Digg’s website and app.  Finally, LinkedIn is a way for individuals and businesses to professionally network.  Although all three have consumer-to-consumer uses, I will focus on the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) applications here.

Twitter is a constant stream of information, and from a business perspective, it can be used to keep up with industry trends and customer habits.  Business professionals enjoy the short nature of the messages both in composing and in reading.  Digg allows bloggers and businesses to rally their engaged consumer bases to “vote” in support of their news or media in order to generate further publicity.  LinkedIn is a digital network space where businesses can keep prospective employees as well as other businesses up to date on current happenings.  Businesses can also use LinkedIn to use shared connections to find potential candidates as well as check references.  All three social media tools encourage constant feedback and chatter between businesses and their consumers (which may be other businesses) to stay connected and updated.

The tools discussed here can be used by both consumers and businesses.  Are there any social media tools you use that are designed to be used primarily for business-to-business applications only?

Summary

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how distinct and dissimilar social media tools are all connected by the common thread of building and maintaining social relationships and interactions.  In all 7 tools, users need to be engaged in order for the social media tool to be successful.

What other tools do you see as interconnected?  How are they similar or dissimilar from the 7 discussed in this post?

I welcome your feedback and comments, please leave them below!  Stay tuned for my next post about social media within the food manufacturing industry.

Sources:
Digg.  (n.d.)  Welcome to Digg.  Retrieved from http://about.digg.com/
Doodle.  (n.d.)  About Doodle.  Retrieved from http://www.doodle.com/about/about.html
Li and Bernoff.  (2008).  Groundswell.  Boston, MA:  Harvard Business Press.
LinkedIn.  (n.d.)  About Us.  Retrieved from http://press.linkedin.com/about
Meetup.  (n.d.) Help.  Retrieved from http://www.meetup.com/help/
Turner, J. (2010 April 9).  Top 52 Social Media Platforms Every Marketer Should Know.  Retrieved from http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2010/04/09/top-52-social-media-platforms/
Turntable.  (n.d.)  About Us.  Retrieved from http://turntable.fm/about
Twitter.  (n.d.)  About.  Retrieved from http://twitter.com/about
Yelp.  (n.d.) About Us.  Retrieved from http://www.yelp.com/about

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7 thoughts on “7 Social Media Tools you may not think are connected but really are!

  1. I like how you separated the Social Media tools and grouped them based on the focus market and function each has. The consumer focused tools certainly encourages interaction and communication between individuals. Your question regarding social media tools used by consumers and not businesses is tough to answer as it seems all business use social media in some sort of fashion. I cannot think of social media tools but I would think a company with high end privacy would not want to use any social media tools consumers do.

    • Thanks for your comment! I agree, companies with high end privacy may choose not to use social media, or at least not use any consumer-based social media tools, in order to protect their privacy. Do you think they may use internal social media tools, like an internal blog or wiki for their employees?

  2. Your post had a great intro hook and definitely captured my attention from the get-go and I thought that was important to give you kudos on. In addition, I couldn’t agree more with your statement, that effiective social media is about engaging your audience!

    Out of the seven social media tools you discussed, I was familiar with all except MeetUp, Turntable and Doodle. That said, after reading your post I know have a basic understanding of all three tools. One thing about Yelp that I wanted to share is that I agree it’s a consumer based tool, however it’s important businesses keep an eye on their reviews and manage their profiles. At my company, we have a unique Yelp page for each of our branch locations allowing the local customers to post their feedback.

    You asked, “Are there any social media tools you use that are designed to be used primarily for business-to-business applications only?” The only two that are top of mind used primarily for B2B are Radian6, which I’ve recently discovered in the social media world, and Salesforce.com.

    Out of the consumer tools you mentioned, do you use any of them? If so how often?

    • Thanks! That’s an interesting perspective about Yelp. Can businesses do anything about comments/ratings – in other words, do they have a chance to offer an explanation for a negative rating?

      I was trying to coordinate a dinner around the holidays with a bunch of college friends and one suggested Doodle to help us choose a date. It was great! After learning about the tool, I started to use it for my tennis team. I am captaining a mixed doubles team and I put out the schedule on Doodle and asked everyone to enter their availability. Its great because I can go back to the Doodle and quickly see if I have enough players for every match or if I should recruit new people. And when people’s schedules change, they just change their availability in the Doodle. Before we used to send separate emails for everything and one person would put together a spreadsheet – which was ok if everyone used Google docs but not everyone does so I thought Doodle was easier!

      I have never used MeetUp, but a friend was interested in learning about it so I said I’d look into it and report my findings. It was fun to learn about! I have a couple friends who have the opportunity to listen to music at work (I can’t) and they always talk about Turntable, so that’s why I chose to look into Turntable.

      I really like Doodle, and although the functionality is simple, its great for what it does. If you need to choose dates or coordinate availability for more than 3 people, give it a try! It was easy to learn how to use, which was great for me because technical details are not my forte!

  3. I enjoyed your post you gave information about sites that I have never heard of before. Like Meetup,Turntable, Doodle and Digg.

    You mentioned Yelp and I have heard both positive and negative aspects of this website. It is great that there is a place to go to get reviews on places. I am one that loves to read reviews before I go some where or buy something. The one thing with Yelp is I have heard stories from business owners around my area of posting that were negative and untrue posted on Yelp. Some think it is from angry employees, competition that are trying to hurt them, etc. This is one huge problem with the internet because once it is posted it is for everyone to see whether it is true or not.

    Here’s a link with some other information on Yelp.
    http://kathrynvercillo.hubpages.com/hub/Pros-and-Cons-of-Yelpcom

    I checked one of the sites that I have never heard of, Meetup. This site seems to be a great way to connect with a certain crowd of people that it may be harder to find on your own. I nice way to get networking or just to have people to go skiing with.

    • Thanks for the comment! The weblink you sent on Yelp was very informative, and I think very helpful to people intending to use Yelp for advice, feedback, etc. I can definitely see how one customer may have a horrible experience and be very passionate about it in their review on Yelp, while a different customer may have a good experience and either not review their experience at all or post an average comment. Businesses may even try to hurt their competition by finding people to write bad reviews about the competition or good reviews about their own business, but that could happen in any social media platform and is a fact of social media. Have you seen any examples of that in your experiences with any social media tools?

  4. Pingback: Tomorrow’s Social Media: Perspective from an MBA Student | srcgull

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