Introduction to social media

The following TMT practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Introduction to social media
  • Key social media types
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Business models
  • Internal use of social media-type tools by organisations
  • Getting the right message across
  • More...

Introduction to social media

This Practice Note describes briefly different types of social media services and websites and explains the key risks associated with social media for businesses, offering guidance on ways to address these, with a particular focus on brand management.

Key social media types

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram are often the focus of businesses for marketing campaigns and to develop online communities. This is partly because social media allows a high level of control of audience targeting. The approach to social media taken by a business is likely to be dictated by the type of industry, the demographic targeted (Instagram is popular with 16–23-year-olds), the online spaces that its customers and target market frequent and the potential effectiveness of each social media site in supporting the organisation’s brand management and marketing strategies.

A brief explanation of how each of the sites tend to be utilised by businesses is detailed below.


On Facebook, individuals customise which information on their Facebook page they want to share with other internet users and which information they want to share only with particular groups or individuals. Most businesses have corporate pages, fan pages or groups, using these as another way to connect with and market to their customers. There are rules of use governing business accounts. For instance, business account users are restricted in their

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