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Social Media Basics

This guide will help you understand how to navigate through the popular social media networks.

Whether they are checking our email, shopping, or simply surfing the net, internet users spend nearly 30% of their online time checking social media. These platforms have changed the way that people consume news, order food, and find friends. But, if you are new to social media, understanding how it works can be overwhelming. 

This guide will help you understand how to navigate through some social media basics. 

Get to know social media marketing

Around the world, nearly four billion people use social media on average each day. Because consumers spend about 30% of their time using social media, businesses looking to market themselves use social media, too. Social media marketing gets products and services in front of consumers with authenticity and some transparency. 

Social media marketing usually includes attractive images, helpful videos, and information-gathering links. Businesses use social media to share product launches, offer chances to win contests, and build brand awareness. Since social media companies track users, they can share businesses and products that their algorithms determine users would like. 

Since social media marketing campaigns are a form of advertising, businesses pay social media platforms for space. 

In turn, social media platforms track advertisements so they can force businesses to pay for each click. So, social media companies want to attract users who will convert an ad to a sale. Social media users should know they are valuable commodities for the platform and the businesses that use it. 

Different social media platforms

The internet is full of social media platforms of all sizes. The largest ones get billions of users each day and have become household names. Others are smaller networks that give people opportunities to interact with people who have similar interests. 


Facebook has been the most popular social media site for nearly two decades. People use the space to interact with friends, build their businesses, sell things, and join groups. 

If you are new to Facebook, the site uses a feed that users scroll through to see posts from their friends and businesses they follow, or the site determines they would like. People post photos or videos, and users can comment on the posts and share them, too. 


Twitter is similar to Facebook in the way users scroll through their feeds to read Tweets from the people, businesses, and organizations they follow. It is a useful marketing tool, but not as useful as Facebook. Twitter is popular because people can have conversations with a nearly limitless group of people. 

As with many social media platforms, trolls are active on Twitter. A troll is a user who hides behind a fake identity who tries to create trouble with other users. They might post hurtful comments to get users to engage with them. Fortunately, Twitter allows users to block trolls and other users who create problems. 


Facebook owns Instagram, so the two platforms interact nicely with each other despite their differences. Instagram is all about photos and videos, while Facebook allows users to add posts without images. 

Of the social platforms, Instagram users engage with businesses more than on any other platform. Because of this, businesses often share coupons and discounts only available on the platform. Businesses and individuals rely on hashtags to gain followers and find users with similar interests. 


Pinterest works as an inspiration board and wish list. When surfing the web, Pinterest users add favorite things to their various Pinterest boards. For example, people getting married can create Pinterest boards with ideas for flower arrangements, favorite wedding apparel, or unique wedding cake ideas. 

Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram are good choices for businesses that want to reach a captive audience. Pinterest works differently for businesses. To gain access to Pinterest users, businesses have to be specific with their meta descriptions and titles. Users often buy items they see on Pinterest, so the platform can be lucrative for businesses who understand it. 


Social media has changed the way businesses market to consumers. The platforms changed the way consumers interact with businesses, as they get to build relationships through online communities. Consumers should understand that social media platforms and businesses make money off their interactions, so they should surf and comment with care. 


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