Monthly Archives: November 2011
Whilst recently talking to a friend and business acquaintance about plans for a joint training seminar she made a very good point, her words pretty much were:
“You can’t afford not to ‘do’ social media – that is where everyone is and if you don’t have a presence you are potentially missing out on getting in front of that audience.”
Helen Bedeau, Ask MK Ltd
Okay, it is not where everyone is but the user stats are pretty impressive:
Facebook has over 800 million active users worldwide.
Twitter has over 100 million active users worldwide.
Google+ already has over 100 million people signed up.
The thing is that, compared to other forms of advertising, social media is fairly inexpensive. If you have the knowledge and expertise to get set-up, build fans or followers and engage with them yourself all it will cost is your time (although that can be quite a lot of time..). Even if you employ a social media agency to help you, you are talking costs in the hundreds of pounds rather than the thousands.
Having a presence in social media will build brand awareness, push traffic to your website and bring in new contacts and customers. People no longer want marketing messages shouted at them from all directions from companies they have no interest in. They want to use social media to choose who they follow and therefore who they want to receive information from.
If you’re still asking yourself whether you should ‘do’ social media the answer is a definite yes – I can almost guarantee your competitors are…
With the emergence of online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn it has never been easier to connect with people that you would like to do business with – but have they replaced the need to network in real life?
All three of these social networking platforms are very different in the way they function but the one thing they all have in common is that they quickly and easily allow people to connect and communicate with each other.
Just in case you don’t know the story, this online network was set-up in a college to allow students to find, rate and communicate with each other. Its growth and popularity with the public at large has led it to be the biggest online network in the world, currently at over 800 million users and growing. As well as individuals having a presence, brands and businesses can also set-up pages and advertise on this forum. Some would say that the complex and commercial nature of the current Facebook takes it too far away from its roots – a simple to use, online networking database.
In many ways this is a much simpler online network. It is easy to follow and un-follow people and businesses and manage how they show in your feed. It is a fantastic source as a real-time news feed and is growing in popularity every day. The ease with which you can build your own network of like-minded Tweeters within the vastness of Twitter makes it a great place to connect with other business and potential customers online.
This is as close as you can get to professional face-to-face networking online. Personal profiles are based around professional qualifications and work history. This is a great forum for finding, connecting with and getting in touch with acquaintances.
All of these platforms allow you to connect and engage with people you would like to get to know and do business with but they cannot replace face-to face networking, only enhance it.
The need for us to meet and analyse each other in person is still essential to business – after all, people buy people. What these social networking sites allow us to do is continuing to have a dialogue in-between the meetings or start a relationship online that becomes a meeting.
Online social networking and face-to-face networking should work hand in hand to enable you to expand your contact database and communicate well with your existing contacts.
1. You will probably find a lot of the businesses you are working with are on there.
2. You can build an online network of local, national and international businesses from your office chair.
3. If you follow a business you have synergy with they will almost always follow you back.
4. It is easy to tag a business you have met-up with/are working with in a Tweet to give them recognition.
5. It is easy to update businesses you work with any news (once you have built up a following).
6. Unless you are blocked you can follow anyone so can easily keep an eye on what competitors are saying.
7. You can follow business publications and bloggers to be kept up-to-date with current trends/industry news.
8. You can position yourself as an industry specialist by Tweeting links back to blogs/articles on-line.
9. Your Tweets can be searched and read by more than your followers if you hash tag key and industry words.
10. You can build a rapport with a business that you don’t yet know by re-tweeting and replying to their Tweets.
Related Blog Post: Top tips to getting the most from Twitter
After a quiet launch in June by invite only, Google+ is now open to all and has also launched the ability for companies and organisations to set-up brand pages.
Google+ has reached 40 million users in the short time it has been live. Yes it is still a long way off of Facebook’s 800 million, but it is owned by Google, who also own YouTube. 66% of searches in US are done on Google – this major web presence and ability to drive traffic has huge potential in making Google+ brand pages very appealing to businesses.
Google will have to be careful not to flout fairness laws but it would be difficult for the search engine not to push pages in one of its own sites up the search rankings wouldn’t it?
These cross-web affiliations are the key to making Google+ a success. From a marketing point of view the appeal of having a brand presence on a social media platform that can pull upon tools such as Google Analytics for data analysis and have a direct influence on search and sharing capabilities is very alluring.
Alongside this, for the consumer, Google+ is pretty user friendly and not majorly dissimilar from Facebook (What is Google+ and should my organisation be using it). So mass migration of users over to it is not an unlikely prospect.
The only downsides at the moment are that there is no ability to run adverts on the platform to push traffic to pages and there doesn’t seem to be the ability for pages to like pages. I am sure thought that with time these, and many other facilities, will be developed and added.
Yes Facebook and Twitter are still increasing users but in this age we are always looking for the next big thing and Google+’s ease of use and links to the biggest search engine in the world will make it a big player on the social media scene.
In the last few years the terms ‘Old Media’ and ‘New Media’ have become common when talking about media communications and now, more recently, we also have the term ‘Social Media’.
This is what you might think of as traditional media. Newspapers, Magazines, Television and Radio. These four channels have been the heavyweights when it comes to media influence and there is no doubting that they still have the ability to reach a mass market. However, it could be argued that we are all now so bombarded with advertising and marketing messages from these channels that we have learnt to ‘switch off’ from them . It is also hard, if using these channels to advertise, to track and quantify exactly what response it has elicited.
This is generally thought of as the emergence of online media and includes websites and electronic newsletters. The start of these channels, and the constant changes and developments that go with them, have led to exciting times in media communications. The only advertising spend that has increased in the last few years has been online. Banner ads, and online advertising in general, are popular because it can be tracked and quantified.
In the last couple of years we have seen the creation and development of social media. Sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Once started as a means for individuals to communicate it was never going to be long before organisations saw, and harnessed, the power they have as a form of media communications.
Any successful marketing and communications campaign or strategy should consider all of these channels as part of their mix. However, whereas Old and New Media rely on a message being created and pushed out to an audience, Social Media is also about engagement and conversation.
- Melanie on Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work
- Keith Osborn on Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work
- Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work - Social Monkey on Social Media Workshops
- Social Networking - Why Face-to-Face is still important on Norfolk Tweetup
- Melanie on Norfolk Tweetup