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Using social media for business: Terms you should know

What does 'social business' actually mean? And is 'snackable content' just another marketing buzzword? This glossary clarifies these concepts and other important terms related to social media for business.

Social media can be a formidable business tool, not just for customer relationship management and marketing, but...

for gathering business intelligence and even developing new product ideas. To benefit from these information sharing networks, companies are learning to manage the social media lifecycle to get the right content out there to the right people at the right time -- and then to figure out how to use the resulting activity to better their business.

Internal collaboration in the enterprise has certainly been altered by social media, with tools like Yammer and now Facebook at Work offering new ways for employees to work together. But companies have also moved into the realm of "social business" to bring the consumer further into the enterprise fold and involve them not just at the end of business processes, but throughout. The needs, desires and complaints that consumers voice on social media platforms can be used to improve business operations, spark product ideas and, in turn, improve the social media strategy.

But how can companies tap into the connections on social media without turning to gimmicks or to creepy or downright unethical tactics? The interconnectedness of the Web creates an enormous opportunity to reach a broader audience and learn more about them, but that same interconnectedness opens the door to annoying publicity stunts and creepy advertisements. It can also facilitate all-out dishonesty and identity theft. However, while social media makes it easier to disseminate lies, it can also allow consumers to more easily ferret out and expose inauthenticity and bad business.

Read on to learn more about important terms related to social media for business, from umbrella concepts you may have heard mentioned many times, to useful tools and platforms, to strategies for getting a social media strategy to pay off (and a few to avoid).

What is social business, anyway?

Here are some terms to get you started on the major components of social media in the enterprise.

Social business
Is your company a social business? This term can apply to companies that make it their mission to address societal issues, but it's also used in reference to social media strategy.

Enterprise social networking
You may hear this umbrella term bandied about -- here's what it means.

Social media listening (social media monitoring)
Ever wonder how social media listening and social media analytics are different?

Social media analytics
Social media analytics takes social media listening a few steps further, providing a foundation for social media-based business intelligence efforts.

Social media marketing
What are some of the unique challenges associated with social media marketing?

Generation Facebook
Millennials are also described as "Generation Y," and sometimes, "Generation F." Find out why this is important to your business.

Bitly, Hootsuite and other useful tools

Effective social media strategies often have a lot of moving parts that can be tough to corral. Companies use a variety of technologies to make social media more manageable and rewarding. Here are a few important ones.

Social media dashboard
Companies that manage multiple social media accounts or run numerous social media marketing campaigns may find it difficult to succeed without some kind of dashboard tool.

Why is Bitly so popular among Twitter users?

What benefits does Hootsuite offer for social media managers (beyond French wordplay and a cute owl logo)?

A company can use tweetchats to gain Twitter followers, brand exposure and valuable information on their audience.

Google circles
What are the benefits of using Google+ circles, especially if you already use Facebook groups?

Google [+] 1 button
Do you know how to use the Google +1 button?

Social media tips -- and tricks to avoid

Social media has a dark side that might seem appealing for rapid brand exposure, but taking the wrong path won't serve your company's reputation in the long run. Here are some terms to remember as you develop a social media strategy that is ethical and authentic to your brand.

Done well, newsjacking can be a very effective practice. But it requires resources, finesse and impeccable timing.

Snackable content
Information shared on social media needs to be easy to consume and distribute. However, this doesn't mean that your company's content has to be shortened or dumbed down.

Unless you work for an activist organization or want to get fired, this may not be a practice to consider -- but you need to be aware that social media makes brandjacking an effective weapon against corporations that almost anyone can wield.

Sock puppet
It sounds harmless, but don't be fooled. Sock puppetry on social media outlets is not only unscrupulous, but it may be illegal in some cases.

Is your social media strategy worth the effort?

While it's a good idea for many companies to have an active presence on social media, more is not always more. How do you take a measured approach to social media and find out what kinds of approaches are worth the time and effort? Keep these concepts in mind to ensure that you get the results you want from a social media strategy.

Social media ROI
Even if the C-suite is on board with a social media strategy, chances are you'll need to show how the investment is paying off.

Social media metrics
There's plenty of debate about which metrics are most effective in measuring social media success.

Dark social
Just when you thought you were successfully tracking all social traffic to your website, dark social changes the game.

Cost per like (CPL)
How much did those Likes on your company's Facebook page cost?

Social media influence
Should you keep a closer eye on members of your social media audience who have a particularly strong influence?

Dig Deeper on Enterprise social media management