It’s redefined the way people communicate online, it’s revolutionised the internet and is pulling viewers away from drab television programs. If you’re not yet using social media for business you may be wondering what it’s all about, any why it’s being talked about in business circles as the marketing tool for the new economy.Let’s examine the “Social” aspect of Social Media. What does it really mean to be Social.Using Social Media – A Perspective For Your BusinessSocial communities comprise people from different backgrounds, countries, cultures and education levels. You never know who is reading your message. This is why your messages must be kept simple and straight to the point, so everyone can understand. It’s best to avoid using technical jargon; otherwise your readers will ignore your messages and turn to messages that make sense to them. The exception of course is if you were part of a community all of whose members belong to a particular category such as chemical engineers, in which case you would have to use specific terminology.Value based communicationSocial communities by their very nature are open, which means that you are competing with hundreds of others posting messages at the same time as you are. To rise above the sea of other messages, your messages should add immense value. This way, you become a market maven, and members look forward to reading your messages.As a marketer don’t just rattle of about promoting your products and services to the community through your messages, instead listen to what the community is talking about. Then create tailored messages that target the specific community so it becomes more meaningful.Targeting the sensesHow you can broadcast your information so that it reaches the recipient by penetrating their sensory defence mechanisms. Individuals have their own personal preferences when processing information. Some prefer moving media, while others prefer to read. Social media marketing offers both these options, and it’s best to use a combination of the written word and video channels such as YouTube to reach a wider audience and deliver content in a way that the receiver likes.Putting it all togetherEffective social media marketing requires all the elements; the target, the message and media to come together in perfect synergy. For instance Facebook is a great medium to target consumers. On the other hand LinkedIn is more suitable for business to business communication. The tone of voice in the latter can also be more businesslike.While remembering not to “oversell”, don’t forget to include Links in some of your messages that point to your website, blog or even a YouTube video.Giving customers a voiceSocial Media offers diversity in what was once a restricted, predominantly one-way communication channel between businesses and their customers. This has now changed. The primary difference between this new communication channel is that prospects and customers now have a voice and can respond to, challenge and share a message.Unlike traditional media channels such as TV, Radio and Newspapers, a message posted on a social media network can multiply at warp speed and can be spread to a worldwide audience. While this is an extremely cost-efficient way of getting a message across, the converse also applies. Information about a less than satisfactory experience can also fly halfway around the world before the product owner even realises what was wrong, often with Disastrous Consequences.Earning through consistent actionWith regular participation in social media a business can gain significant brand mileage and an individual can achieve “expert” status quickly. Eventually this results in increasing the earning potential of the entity.Consistency is the key to social media success. The cycle of listening to the community members, creating messages and posting messages on different sites, needs to be systemised and performed regularly. Otherwise the social media equity that a; brand, company or individual builds up will quickly fade away.Don’t be boring is the message that needs to be heard among social media communities. It’s OK to be outrageous at times, as long as one is honest and meets the requirements of the social media channel. Look for innovative ways to excite people. Use humour, challenge claims, offer an outrageous guarantee. Let your imagination run free.Be active, engage with others and respond to their requests. Perfect the art of creating a presence, without being overbearing like an uninvited pest.So now that you know what Social media is all about take the first step and create your own strategy. Determine what works best for you and get in the game, or you may just get left behind.