Social Media: It’s about interaction

I was talking with my mother tonight about the work that I do. She’s been an independent real estate market analyst for almost 20 years (after doing the same thing in the corporate world for the previous 18 years). Only this year did she launch a website. And when I was describing how business not only can, but should use social media as a marketing tool, her response reflected a common misconception.

Social Media is not a platform in and of itself. And it’s far more than just Facebook and Twitter. It’s a collection of platforms that have one thing in common that is absolutely critical for marketing and PR professionals these days: they allow for two-way interaction with your audience. When you buy advertising in a media outlet or get a story placed in the Wall Street Journal or on Good Morning America, you’re speaking to your audience through a third party. And the communication is only going one way. You can’t see how your audience is actually reacting to your message.

Facebook and Twitter have appeared in the news a lot, and are therefore perhaps the two best known social media platforms. But they are just two of many, a number of which have actually been around longer than you might think . Just look at the picture with this post.

Blogs such as this one and the others linked to here are social media. You can post comments in response to what I write here. is a social media platform because users can write and post reviews of the products that Amazon sells. Youtube is a social media platform where users can post their own videos and comment on others’ posted videos. Flickr is a platform that allows people to share photos online.

These platforms, and the countless other social media platforms out there, can be used by people to interact with each other in different ways. But the key is interaction. People are interacting with one another to share content and information. To use it properly for marketing purposes, you need to be able to listen to what others are saying.

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