There are thousands of social media, social bookmarking, social networking and microblogging sites, but what do they all do?

Social media is a term that includes most of the others and also blogging, online article writing and newsletters. They’re all means of communication with an audience that may be made up of random viewers, people you’re directly connected with and people who have specifically asked to receive information from you.

Social bookmarking sites offer their members to post links that they have found interesting and useful as a means of sharing information with others. It’s a good way of getting your blog read, but also of sharing specialist information that may be of interest to like-minded people. Generous sharing generates connections and builds your reputation.

Social networking covers membership sites that offer the opportunity for people to make new connections, reconnect with people they have known in the past and also get connected to people they want to meet through mutual connections. An introduction from a known source is always much more powerful than a ‘cold’ approach.

Depending on the network there are many other functions of these networks, providing everything from a dedicated group that has discussions around mutually interesting topics, to being able to post social information and events as well as photos and/or business information.

Typically most people think of LinkedIn as the ‘business’ end of the spectrum and Facebook as the ‘social’ end, but both have elements right across the spectrum.

Microblogging is where you can post small bits of information, limited by a maximum character count. Twitter is the best known, but by no means the only one.

Learning to write succinctly to get your message across is excellent practice for writing longer copy!

Using a combination of chosen social media to promote your message means understanding what they all do. More about that over the next few days.
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