Social media is an essential part of the marketing mix for brands. According to a recent marketing forecast by Forrester Research, social media marketing will grow at an annual rate of 34% faster than any other form of online marketing. Companies are using social media tools to monitor conversations about their products, competitors and industry and engaging with their customers while building relationships.

 

Popular networking sites including MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are social media websites which are most commonly used for socialization and connecting friends, relatives, and employees. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the use of RSS is becoming increasingly prevalent online.

 

Facebook is a freely accessible social networking website where users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school or region to connect and interact with other people online.

 

Twitter is a free social networking service that allows its users to send and read each others' updates, known as tweets. Tweets are 140 character, text-based posts that are displayed on the author's profile page as well as the follower's page. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, a mobile device or external applications.

 

YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload and share videos.RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It's an easy way for users to have news and information updated on their own Web sites or other device, instead of just linking to that information. Such information delivered this way is called a feed.

 

Social Media has penetrated the web in a big way even the healthcare industry has embraced the concept, examples of which are the Health Canada website and the CMA.ca website. The Health Canada website offers a link to the their Twitter Page, that provides consumer product recalls, advisories, foreign product alerts and media releases, Social Bookmarking, allowing you to share interesting web pages and RSS feeds The CMA.ca website offers YouTube Videos, a link to their Twitter page and RSS.

 

Web-based and social media tools are making it easier to get health information, find doctors, make appointments, keep records, and get support. TELUS Authorized Dealer in Canada YouTube is now making transcribed videos available for the visually impaired.

 

One of the latest steps on the healthcare front involves a partnership between Telus Mobile and Microsoft. TELUS technology opens the way for Canadians to manage their personal healthcare records electronically. Powered by Microsoft HealthVault, TELUS health space is a cutting-edge, high-security data storage and sharing service where individual Canadians will be able to keep all their personal healthcare information, such as lab results and prescription information, in an online database for access over any Internet connection.

 

Darren St Romain is a search marketing consultant from Toronto, Ontario. With ten years in the New Media Industry, he has had the pleasure of working with such organizations as LifeCapture Interactive, Nurun: A Quebecor Company, March of Dimes and OnCorp Direct. Since 2006 Darren has been focusing on search marketing and social media optimization.