Recent technological trends have resulted in an increase of businesses engaging in social media marketing. Social media is important because it allows companies to distribute information, request feedback and develop stronger relationships with consumers. There are multiple types of social media that organizations can use in order to reach the largest audience of consumers. Owned media is defined as online content that a company can create and control. This type of media enables businesses to generate communication with their consumers. Examples of owned media can include blogs, websites and Facebook pages. Earned media is commonly described as free media because it is earned through customer feedback resulting in that organization’s presence on social media outlets. Comments on blogs, viral videos or retweets represent forms of earned media. Paid media consists of businesses that pay for information to be placed online. Paid media can constitute paid search words or advertising. Organizations that exercise multiple types of social media tend to achieve the most success in creating an online buzz, which can benefit their overall client base size.
Companies can also generate greater success rates by catering their marketing efforts to specific consumers, also known as target groups. There are 6 general types of social media users that vary from individuals who publish on websites to consumers that do not participate in social media. The chart above demonstrates the different social media users as well as the percentages of consumers who fit into each group based on their generation (Forrester Research). Social media users who produce and share content online are categorized as creators. Critics represent the group of individuals who post ratings, reviews or comments about products or services. Consumers who utilize RSS feeds to gather information are labeled collectors. Joiners are regarded as those who maintain their own social networking profile and visit other websites. Individuals who consume media in the form of reading blogs, watching videos, or listening to podcasts are sorted in the spectator category. Inactives is the designated term for consumers that choose not participate in any forms of social media. It is very likely that active online consumers can fall under multiple categories of social media users.