Browsing "social networking"
Social networking is the new kid on the internet block, with Facebook being the most obvious example of it’s popularity, it won’t be going anywhere soon. Full of games, groups, and social calendars, employers and businesses often block the websites access as it erodes their employees productivity. Users often get spam wall postings from friends who play the games like Mafia Wars or Farmville, and a general malcontent seems to be evident about such, until people are shown how to block the messages.
But is it all bad? A recent survey by Pew and Elon found that:
85% of nearly a thousand techies agreed, the social benefits of Facebook, Twitter, etc, will outweigh the negatives over the coming decade. E-mail, instant messaging, social networking, and similar Web services offer simple ways to forge and rediscover social ties that can make a difference in people’s lives.
So all the spam, time lost, and invites from long lost relatives, being sociable on the internet isn’t a bad thing. The larger agreement between the panel was that the social interaction created by the internet, and the services available, has enriched their life currently, and can be seen to help encourage this growth. It may sound like it’s a too good to be true scenario, but if you begin as a business, to think of it only in cost investment first; all of the social networks are free to join and use. Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google Buzz and apps, all quick to join, setup, and share your information with those you invite to share with.
Of course there’s the downside mentioned earlier. Time wasted on sites, not to mention the stigma of lost face to face interaction, and the recent privacy concerns of some sites. But Pew and Elon didn’t select their panel from random passing people from the public. They used the social services to reach their findings. E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs were all tapped for their answers and opinions. Clay Shirky, Esther Dyson, Nicholas Carr, Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark were only a few of the people who provided their feedback.
Newmark: “The Net is about people connecting online, for commerce, politics, and personally, and we already see that enhances real-life relationships. Location-based social networking, in particular, will be a big part of our lives.“
As large as the world is, as diverse as the population seems. The more people discover about themselves, the more they wish to build, and form relationships around themselves locally. Local social media networking looks to be the way forward.
It’s everywhere, on cabs, on bus stops, in the papers, on the radio.. social media. “Find us on Facebook! Twitter with us!” etcetera, but really, how prevalent is this lucrative advertising medium?
Interaction with larger companies, brand names, was up to 78% of all social media activists; an overall increase of 32% from 2008. And of all users, 95% believe that not only should big brands have a social media presence of some sort, and 89% of all users believe that active interaction should be taking place in this manner.
As for customer experience tieing into social networking (a survey conducted by Tealeaf via Econsultancy), 75% or respondants ahve said their choice of retailer was influenced by what was read on social media sites, while 56% admitted to avoiding a company after a bad review had been posted. In total, 51% of respondents came about as being influenced by what they have seen on social media sites.
All business can benefit by exploring, and taking advantage of all advertising opportunities available to them, but small business owners tend to benefit most as the ROI (return on investment), most often only your time, is greatest. And yet, only 9% of small business owners take advantage of Twitter as a means to market themselves. 32% of small business owners intend to use social media networking within the next year however, and 39% plan to include customer reviews and ratings on their site.
Just in the US, Facebook popularity increased by 194% through to September 2009, launching it into the number 1 social network spot, with 59% of all US visitors to social networking sites. Myspace, came in at the number 2 spot with 30% of market share, a drop of 55% from September 2008. Bringing up the back end was Tagged at 2% and Twitter with 1.9% of the market visits. Twitter, being the newest player to the field should definitely not be discounted however. Getting Mom and dad online has helped, as usage of social networking rose by 77% by users over 55.
Since its inception the Internet has developed considerably, gone are the long pages of basic text and in its place what is called Web 2.0, an arena full of social media sites, networking, images and videos galore.
Now users from around the world can switch on their computers and access a wide variety of information in a selection of formats, including high quality images, videos, audio and text.
Many of the large online corporations are continuing to expand, making deals with firms that combined with their own expertise, could really enhance the face of the web. Google is one such company, they have just paid and estimated $100 million, purchasing On2, a video compression tool specialist.
They produce equipment that compresses video files to make them suitable for use on computers, mobile phones and other gadgets, without compromising the videos quality. Considering Google currently owns video sharing site, YouTube, this deal could vastly improve the service offered to Internet users.
Tweets got you down? Blue about your blog? Friendless on Facebook?
No clue what all this means?
It’s OK. There’s help out there, at least for business owners.
Social media is the new communications frontier; and while some are reaping the benefits of these modern customer channels, others are still stuck trying to figure out what it all means.
When we talk about social media, it is different from traditional marketing methods. In the past all we’ve always done is talked at our clients, told them what we wanted, enticed them to use our product,”
Social media is different in that we aren’t talking at our people anymore, we are having conversations with them. They get to have an opinion now.
Treat your computer as you would treat a business networking event, the only difference is you would spend 30 minutes getting there, an hour there and 30 minutes back and how many contacts have you made? “You’ve made maybe three to five good contacts. But you are so busy, you didn’t return the call, you didn’t put the business card in your database.”
Compare that with the millions of potential contacts that could be made on social networking sites. Get Blogging, Tweeting & Linking In today
The culture war over social media is raging out of control. In the latest conflagration, Vincent Nichols, the new Archbishop of Westminster, launched a vitriolic attack on the unnaturalness of social media.
In America, critics of the social media revolution are also growing in strength. One of the most popular books of the summer is Matthew B. Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft, a gently defiant defense of physical labour in the age of the digital social network. Much less gentle, but equally defiant is Digital Barbarism, a spirited polemic by the American novelist Mark Helprin, which accuses social media of everything from wrecking the physical economy of culture to destroying human literacy and personal conversation.
Unfortunately, many social media evangelists don’t seem to listening to these critics. For all the manifold warnings about the impact of social media, there is still a common belief amongst social media utopians that network communities are uniting rather than dividing human beings. Take, for example, the forthcoming new book (to be published in the US on September 3 by Portfolio) by Shel Israel, appropriately entitled Twitterville, which claims the “conversational era” puts an end to the constraint of geography and enables the flowering of “global neighborhoods.”
Online business executive Peter Dubens could be about to snap up Friends Reunited from ITV for just $24.6 million, a massive $263 million less than what ITV paid for the social networking site just four years ago.
In the same vein as MySpace, Friends Reunited finds itself hurtling towards the internet scrapheap of innovations that “used to be awesome” but have failed to move with the times and have thus been usurped. The duo of trend setters “back in the day” are now relegated to the “so 2005” pile of outcasts.
Mr Dubens made his money buying small time internet providers, consolidating them into bigger companies then selling them on to major international providers like Tiscali. The entrepreneur is involved with a digital media fund with fellow internet guru Michael Birch, the man behind Bebo.
Friends Reunited could be one of a number of ventures the new capital fund invests in. In this buyers’ market, and with ITV desperate to rid itself of its social media failure, a cheeky offer might be enough to persuade the television company to part with Friends Reunited.
Quite what Mr Dubens might do with the social network remains to be seen. Online advertising revenues have been sapped by drooping visitor returns. In April 2008, Friends Reunited recorded 19 million users with 70 per cent of those returning to the site once every 18 months.
Compare that to Facebook’s 200 million users, most of whom can’t go 10 minutes without giving someone a poke or scribbling something mundane on their wall and you can see a vast void that needs to be bridged.
As consumers are spending more and more of their online time on social networking pages as opposed to traditional brand websites, many business experts are now recommending that businesses incorporate
Facebook has made a huge impact online: there are now over 100 million monthly visitors to the site, and this figure is on the increase. While some businesses are beginning to use social networking sites in their marketing efforts, most business experts say that few companies are investing enough time and effort to make the most of this opportunity.
The benefit of Facebook, and other social networking sites, is that businesses can communicate directly with their customers. This provides an enormous marketing opportunity for brands, but it is crucial, say the business experts, to ‘get it right’.
There are a few key rules that are critical to making good use of sites like Facebook for marketing. Firstly, according to the business experts, consumers do not want to be advertised at. Instead, consumers want conversation, and they want businesses to add value to that conversation. Once you become known as a ‘good brand’ online, consumers will begin to start spreading the word for you, according to business experts.
Next, business experts caution that it takes more than simply having a high number of contacts online to leverage social networking benefits for your business. You need to ensure that you have a quality connection with each individual friend online otherwise you will risk not appearing genuine.
With the increasing popularity of social networking sites, some business experts are even questioning the need for traditional brand based websites. If you can build your branded social network page, they say, then you may not need the traditional website.