Category Archives: Social Media
The Future of Social Media
With the rise of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and the rise in businesses using these platforms to communicate with consumers, where will social media stand in the future?
The amount of growth and engagement in the Internet is growing immensely, every day, month and year software is being updates and developed. The amount of information now being stores on the web is increasing daily, Facebook, Twitter many other platforms are using data collected from users to create new and exciting technology to help you as a consumer work, communicate, and broaden your digital footprint.
Mobile marketing is another factor in social media that will develop as the years go on, mobile devices now have applications that are being used for different needs on a daily usage but still companies are trying to create more and more applications for these smartphones and tablets that will help consumers go even further. With the development in technology social media will develop with it and so will mobile networking, for example with the new software from Apple called Siri, users can now send messages, schedule meetings and make phone calls simply by talking to their phones. Is this what the future will be like in 10 years time where we start talking to machines instead of people.
Cloud computing is another new and simpler way of communicating, storing and engaging especially for business. Cloud computer is a delivery of computing, where resources information and software can be stored within different devices such as phones, laptops, servers and tablets. Through this technology we can now exchange information in the forms of apps which cost less and more secure and reliable, which can be customised to suit your needs.
However with the rise in social media, there is always a downfall. Here we enter the Digital Darwinism era, where the evolution of consumers behavior when society and technology evolve faster than your ability to adapt. The influences of the Internet now disrupt the business world with the decisions consumers now make with purchasing products and services, local businesses need to work to keep up with the age of social media otherwise be left behind. With many companies now going out of business it makes you question is social media a good thing or a bad thing?
The future of social media could be about businesses focusing, not on the number of consumers in their communities, but the levels of engagement to the extent of them knowing too much. Relationships could become broader with people being able to talk to other from across the world in 3D. Mobile technologies could dominant the culture we live in to the extent where we don’t even see each other. Companies could be able to know exactly what we want, without us having to look to far. But the power of social media is a scary but astounding phenomenon it can be impossible to predict what will come next but with what has come out of social media so far, we are onto a pretty good start.
Social Media and Politics
Politics is always a touchy subject, voting for a political party is always a difficult decision but how do these parties use social media to help their campaigns. With the use of social media campaigners now have a huge opportunity to communicate with a greater scale audience.
In 2010 the general elections was one the biggest topics in the country. Three top candidates in the running, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown, all with a message and campaign strategy. A way of pushing voters to listen to what each candidate had to say, YouTube and Facebook united together to create the Digital Debate where YouTube and Facebook users were asked to submit questions to ask the politicians. With over 5000 questions submitted the response was a phenomenon. The questions were then put to a vote and over 180,000 voters chose their favourite question to ask. Ten of the most popular questions from across five categories including; law and order, health and education and economy were submitted to the party leaders. Their video answers were then recorded and uploaded on YouTube where users could make opinions and
comments on each video. Along with the video posts, Facebook created a page called Democracy UK on Facebook, where users could read up on the general elections and the current events happening at the time. Along with a Facebook event called “Rate the Debate” where users could watch the leader’s debate on Sky News, and vote whether they were liking what was being said or not through a polling system which then lead to a meter showing the highs and lows of the debate. On the day of voting, Campaigners used Facebook as a way of getting people to vote with a helpful reminder at the top of people’s news feed to promote people to go vote and show that they voted.
Local politicians again have a great source of power when it comes to social media through social networks such as Twitter local MP’s can contact voters directly through messaging and tweets. Looking at the idea of B2C marketing, and the relationship driven methods of building relationships with consumers and engaging them to a level where they are
remembered, MP’s can use this type of marketing to promote themselves.
Along with political campaigning, there is political events and uprising, and again social media is playing a more active role in politics. Looking at the social media influences in the Arab Spring, social media changed the way stories and news was broadcasted. For example in Egypt, live broadcasting of the events were being uploaded onto the internet within minutes, along with YouTube videos messages such as a young girl who posted a message to the Egyptian President, President Mubarak about her thoughts on the current protests in the country.Juju’s Message
Social Media and Journalism
Social media is becoming more popular as the years go on, the development of products surrounds the idea of social media, and the advantages it has. But social media isn’t just about marketing and selling. Journalism is now being challenged with social media, and becoming more common through the web.
Journalism is now becoming a two-way street in relation to social media, the amount of information and facts being driven onto the Internet is now becoming more widespread. News consumption is accessed and consumed more with the public over the internet and this can be through technology such at mobile phones or tablets, but all these devices lower the barrier to the public and social media is now making it easier and more accessible from users to publish articles and stories through social networking sites, blogs and review sites.
There are two types of journalism I want to focus on, citizen journalism, and traditional journalism, both accepted as news worthy reading but now citizen journalism is starting to challenge and populate journalism. Traditional journalism factors around technical support, such as cameramen, editors, researchers and so on, whereas with citizen journalism can use simple but effective ways to broadcast news through camera phones and handheld camcorders which in turn can be linked to the internet within seconds through social networking platforms. With traditional journalism they use online portals and high entry support to broadcast news which creates high barriers to shot for. Whereas with the help of social media, citizen journalism can now use social networking platforms such as YouTube and review sites such as Mashable to broadcast their stories and articles which now breaks down the barriers and lowers the communication levels. Along with the levels of communication, the additional social media channels now challenge traditional journalism where journalists can now broadcast.
Such newspapers as the Guardian and The Independent are now resorting to social media to broadcast to a wider audience and due to these increasing statistics 51% of 18 to 24year-olds with a social networking profile agreed that they often find out about breaking news stories first via a social networking website. Many journalists are now having their stories read through social apps such as Facebook and twitter as a way of communicating with the public.
Personally I feel traditional journalism is now becoming seen as more negative in the eyes of the public, after the phone hacking scandal arose in the public’s interest in 2011, traditional journalism has now become frowned upon and with serious privacy issues needed to be dealt with. The idea of hacking into someone’s phone is rather extreme but when concerned with a murder victim it’s a more serious issue. The news of the world was a national newspaper, which it seems would stop at nothing to reveal information and “gossip” hacked into Milly Dowler’s phone during investigations into her murder. Ironically the newspaper The Guardian first reported the allegations. “And was a turning point in the hacking affair, contributing to the closure of the News of the World and the establishment of the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics.” Has journalism stooped so low as to this type of pain and unjust actions of the media? Unfortunately these events are still under investigation. Which makes me question the values of journalism and the value of human rights.
B2B and B2C Marketing using Social Media
It is interesting to know the differences between B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer). In my own experience it is hard to decide who has more of an advantage in the marketing sector. B2B focuses on selling products and services to other businesses whereas B2C focuses on selling products and services to consumers for household or personal use. Although both marketing sectors look at the same aim of selling and marketing using the same sorts of methods there are strong difference between them.
B2B is very relationship driven focusing on the value of the relationship and who their target audience is, the sales of the products or services are on a longer scale buying process. One of the main focus of business to business marketing is educating and creating awareness surrounding the product of service, it is very rational buying and decisions can take a long time to make. B2C marketing is very product driven and tries to maximize the value of that one transaction, B2C focuses on a larger target market and the buying process is short and single step buying, B2C is surrounded by very emotional buying, looking at the desire and price and status of the product. B2B is very much thinking with your head whereas B2C is thinking with your heart.
B2B marketing is used by many different types of businesses including marketing, PR and advertising agencies, along with IT and technology support, wholesale materials, website and software developers and human resources consultants and so on. The list is endless.
B2B marketing and social media works well in the sense that B2B marketing uses social media to its advantage by working with and building relationships using different social tools to connect with other businesses. The aims of B2B in connection with social media are relationship focus, value focus and content focus. Here is where the social media strategy process is then developed and Forrester POST method is also used.
Econsultancy is a digital marketing company, which provides training, reports and research for the digital marketing sector. Econsultancy focuses its B2B format through practice guides and training, which helps businesses to evaluate in a B2B environment, focusing on content formats, content distribution and content measurement. They also use a lot of social engagement across multiple channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube along with many others. In February 2009 Econsultancy experimented with Twitter on their homepage, by placing a feed of all tweets mentioning the company, causing an increase in Twitter followers by 200 within the first hour of the experiment. Along with this experiment there is also Red Friday:
“At Econsultancy we’re always keen to experiment on ourselves to see what works and what doesn’t. And as B2B case studies are rare, we’ll let you know how we get on.
Red Friday is intended to be an annual giveaway and e-commerce test case to reward our members and have a bit of fun at this festive time of year.”
The Drink Aware Campaign – Your Ideas and Concepts
Public service announcements are always a struggle to promote to the viewer’s eye. Especially in advertising non-profit organisations push to try and come up with interesting and fun ways of interacting with people but still aiming to inform people of their messages.
One campaign in particular I focused on was the drink aware campaign created by Ogilvy called “why let the good times go bad?”. The campaign is focused on 18-24 year olds who enjoy drinking but to the extend of a wasteful night stuck with one’s head in a toilet. Drink aware, have created a mobile app (which is available to download now) called Good Times app which “helps you and your mates plan your night, keep the good times good while you’re out and get you all home safely in a cab!” The app is a helpful tool with tips and advice for your big night out.
As a 20-year-old student living with other students who enjoy a night out I feel this app has many interesting and useful tips for students to follow, for example The app itself has a GPS tracking system where you can locate your mates on a night out if you lose them in the crowds and being able to order a taxi for the end of the night is again another useful function to use especially if you have no idea where you are and need some assistance.
However from a personal youth perspective the app has more flaws then benefits. Starting from the main focus of this campaign the target audience is 18-24 year old people, focusing in on university students and people who socialise on a regular basis. This demographic is harder to appeal to due to the high amount of drinking and socials that happen surround this generation, student nights and cheap drinks are a big appeal to young people who earn less income than an older demographic. The campaign could work better if they focus on an older generation, for example a 25-35 target audience who may be worried about their intake of alcohol units.
Focusing on the app’s function of recording, how much the user drinks on a night out, requires the user to type in their drinks selection every time they buy one. On a night out generally students and young people are enjoying their night, drinking and dancing in clubs and bars with their friends and tend less to remember to upload their drinking habits onto their phones and more incline to drink. On top of the fact by the morning most people don’t remember the events of the night let alone the drinks they drank.
Another function of the app is its handy tips and advice that it gives throughout your night or event, but again generally people aren’t
focusing on their phones but the cute girl in the corner or the gorgeous man at the bar. The focus of this audience is the morning after and the effects the handover, this is where the advice is needed and sort after. The app needs to appeal to the demographic but at the right times when the audience are more likely to be using their phones.
Unfortunately the app’s advertisement is less appealing with a Facebook page, which tells the reader to download the app but little information about the app and the campaign and little interaction from users, which only 60 people talking about the campaign and only 505 people “like”ing the page. The page needs a new way of connection with their target audience, for example using more appealing images like the posters advertising and trying to connect with other users who like the page by asking more direct questions.
The campaign itself has a strong advertising sector, focusing on the posters and the reflecting images of what a good night could be or what a bad night is, has been cleverly illustrated through the art direction. The posters need to appeal to the audience and I feel they do this but need to be seen on a wider scale. The aim of the campaign is a good target to focus on, with the contrast of a good night compared to a bad night but unfortunately the campaign idea is less focused on its target audience.
Social Media and Non-Profit
Non-profit organisations; Frank, Think, WWF, all good causes that focus on helping and supporting people and animals in need, but how do they fund these causes and organisations. Advertising of course is a great way of funding these causes through reaching out to others for donations and fundraising. Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity and non-profit organisation dedicated to beating cancer through research. Using different means of fundraising such as charity shops and events such as shine and race for life, all these donations are then used to research and find solutions to the different cancers that effect so many lives.
But how do these organisations use social media to communicate their causes and ask for help. Looking firstly at the Cancer research website itself, there is plenty of information and different ways of helping others by the volunteering, fundraising and donation pages within the website, but to get people to interact with the website, Cancer research uses different social networking tools such as Facebook pages and a Twitter account to help raise awareness of what they are trying to achieve and how others can help. Overall Cancer research uses five main social media tools to connect and communicate with others, Facebook and Twitter are two more well know and frequently used networks where cancer research uses both networks as a way of letting people get the latest news and share opinions and stories, along with photos and videos. Twitter is also used as a way of informing users on the science, health and fundraising news surrounding the research. Cancer Research’s Facebook page has a large audience not just “like”ing the page but also talking about it and with its trafficking the page has over 170,000 likes and over 5,000 people talking about it. Looking at the page itself the responding communication between its users and the organisation is strong too within hours of conversations being posted the organisation responds to comment and questions quickly showing an interested in what people have to say.
Along with these networks, cancer research also has a YouTube channel, where videos from events and campaigns are shared along with the research being investigated. Here users can watch TV commercials and life stories of others affected by cancer and with other 130,000 views and 1,114 subscribers the channel has a high amount of trafficking.
Another social tool cancer research uses is delicious.com a social bookmarking service which focuses on different subjects and where Cancer Research uses this network to post news and coverage of cancer research science and all the feeds surround the research. A less used social network but all the same a great way of interacting with its users.
Along with these tools, there is a cancer chats forum where users can talk to others affected by cancer and share their experiences and also find information. This again is a great way of creating social awareness and traffic surround cancer research.
And finally cancer research uses a blog to cover the all their up to date research including funding by the charity as well as useful links and resources along with any media coverage being broadcasted over other media platforms such as TV and radio.
Overall Cancer Research has a large social media presence in the social domain, using lots of useful networks to engage and encourage others to visit, donate and participate in their organisation.
Social Business Model and Theories.
Social media is a powerful tool where people can socialise and communicate through a keyboard or mobile. But now businesses seem to have jumped on the band wagon as a way of promoting their brand or product. It seems like an easy and cost-effective way of promoting, seeing as social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs all are free and many people interact with them. But can a business really just set up a page or account and see their profits rise?
Unfortunately this is not always the case. Social media is a crucial way to growth for companies and brand but in order to increase traffic, these businesses need to understand their audiences. It would seem insane to pitch a product such as a pension plan to a 16-year-old, it is important to listen to what your target audience wants and needs. Businesses do not just need a “just do it approach” to social media but a “make a difference” approach that will let the customers know that their business cares what the user has to say. For example if a company sets up a fantastic designed website with a Facebook page and Twitter account or even a blog, and a customer has a complaint about your service or product and uses these platforms to communicate these complaints, it is important to address these concerns as they arise. The hard work isn’t the designing or development of the social media for your company but trying to provide the information needed by your customers. These social media platforms can be seen as a customer service where customer’s complaints and queries can be answered. The quicker the reply and solution to the problem the happier and more trusting the consumer are of your brand. You need to engage with your audience.
A company who specialises in social business, and provides help for companies that use social media to their advantage, is Sproutsocial, a social media tool used to help businesses engage with their audiences and “get real value from their social efforts”. Using many different networks such as LinkedIn, foursquare and Gowalla, along with Facebook pages and twitter, this application helps focus in on what and where the companies need to engage more or less with their audience. There is also a mobile app to help keep up to date with the conversations and help monitor your brand on the go. Sproutsocial see themselves as a social media management tool, which focuses on four components of social media effectiveness; monitoring, engagement, measurement and growth.
It is all very well setting up a Facebook page or a twitter account to promote your services or product but if you stop the development of your company in the social domain there, there is no hope for your company’s growth to increase. The engagement of your audience is crucial to the increase of interaction. For example is you respond to a comment or article about your company’s service or product the development of trust and respect is given which in turn can lead to word or mouth marketing, which in turn leads to more interaction with your company.
Word of Mouth Marketing.
Word of mouth isn’t rocket science, the passing of information from one people to another. In advertising word of mouth marketing is one of the cheaper and almost the most effective way of promoting a product. The average consumer sees over 3,000 advertising message everyday, but within these messages how many can we really see and trust. This is where the power of word of mouth marketing comes into it. In reality who are we going to trust more a brand screaming messages at us every second of the day or an actual person having a conversation with you. The conversation is the most important matter of word of mouth marketing, it helps push the point or in this cause product out to other consumers. It’s a way of sharing thoughts and opinions of what other think of that brand or product, and these recommendations that increase the sales of the product or brand.
The impact of word of mouth marketing needs the following factors to be taken into account, what is being said and the identity of the person sending the message. Firstly what is being said influences the success of the product or brand. The message being said must be positive and address the importance of the product or brand features. The identity of the person must be based the idea of trust, the sender must be believable and know what they are talking about, there is no point lying about a product as this can damage the brand’s image to the consumer which in turn voices negative messages to the public.
In an article written by McKinsey Quarterly in 2010, it is “a primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions” surrounding word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth marketing is so strongly linked to advertising and is one of the most valued ways of directly targeting consumers. An average consumers trust people not brands. But one of the most important factors of WOM is the different message being given out. There are three different types of spreading your message;
positive, neutral, and negative, in technical terms, the promoter the passive and the saboteur. The least powerful of all three is the neutral passive message, without an opinion the message tends to not travel far and not seen as a strong influencing factor. The positive WOM usually results in good branding experience and the message is repeated on and so on the brand levels increase. Unfortunately along with positive messages the negatives also have a long-lasting effect on a brand image.This in turn loses the interest and trust of the consumer.
Word of mouth marketing is a great way of promoting a product through just a trusted mouth. The main target of this marketing technique is the trust of the brand and its consumers and using people as a way of bridging the gap.
The Facebook Privacy Debate
Facebook is one of the largest social networking site, with over 800 million users, it has been one of the biggest social impacts to the web. But is Facebook really a safe place to post up personal information? With its new and improved Facebook about to launch concerns have been raised with the amount of content being shared on the web.
One main issue with Facebook is the privacy of the users account. It is very simple to create an account and impersonate another person, for many different reasons; unfortunately due to its varied and popular status on the web it is a severe reason for this. The inappropriate use of Facebook unfortunately something that cannot always be dealt with.
Trolling is another strong criticism of the social networking site. In September 2010 a man was jailed for 18 months after posting and commenting obscene and hurtful messages on a memorial page set up on Facebook which was deemed “malicious communications”. The word “trolling” or “trolls” is the term given to a person who posts stirring messages to an online community as a way to promote a reaction. This again is another issue Facebook faces.
Facebook launched a way of disabling a users account if they do not wish to continue using the site, where by the user can deactivate their account but not delete all together. The danger being that even though the information is not seen the data collected is still stored with the site and could easily be accessed without permission.
Advertising is another strong issue with the social networking site, as a lot of funding surround Facebook as a way to support its funding, however such brands as Halifax and Vodafone removed their advertisement from the site due to protecting their brands, some advertisements appeared along side pages such as the British National Party page, which they did not wish to associate with.
With its new sharing feature of posting and sharing what users listen to, watch and read about, Facebook has promoted questions about its user content. In September 2011 an article on helpnetsecurity.org, which focused on the five main concerns of the new and improved changes to Facebook, over the growing, concerns of the privacy and security issues. A few main points in the article were the new push to encourage users to share more publicly their information such as jobs, education and locations as a way of building more data, brings up the issue of privacy settings. Another issue was the new “timeline revolution” which allows users and friends look back at information and content which the user would not wish to be seen, which is available to anyone.
Overall Facebook is a digital world of information that can be highlighted at the click of a button. The fact of security and privacy are huge factors, which are being addressed by Facebook. Campaigns such as take this lollipop are just one of the campaigns encouraging users to be careful when allowing others to access their information, for example, how many people read the information before they click the “allow” button. This campaign was a way of focussing in on security issues surrounding Facebook.
The Importance of the Social Graph.
Social graphs can come in all different shapes and sizes but this is dependant on the information and identity of the person in question. A social graph is the digital mapping of a person’s characteristics. First coined by Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of the social networking site Facebook, the social graph can be used in many different ways, uses mainly for marketing and business purposes. It is a very useful way for businesses to connect with you. First started with Facebook then moved to other platforms, such as Twitter, Flickr and Google, social graphs can be built up with different information and connections which in turn overlap. Social graphs are very useful way of improving the accuracy of networks and find out information that works to the advantages of businesses such as marketing and advertising agencies, which need this information to help target the audiences of their products or brands.
A social graph can tell a story of a personal identity in three simple sections. First focussing on context, nodes then finally sharing. Social networking is all about content, who you associate with, can tell someone a lot about you. Your content does not only tell you about who you are, but also who you are not. What interests you but also what does not. Associations with other personal social graphs can be helpful in a way of being discovered but the distinctions that can help you pull away from that crowd and show your true identity. So the more in your social graph the more information can be defined around you. The social graph is a set out as a mapping system of connections (kind of like a spider diagram) and these connections are seen as dots called nodes. These nodes are points on the map that help users and businesses “navigate” and find exactly the content they are looking for their business. Finally sharing this content through nodes can then be communicated and exchanged throughout the web within a community, which in turn connects others and creates more nodes.
But how does one increase their social graph? The more information and content being entered into the web the larger your social graph becomes. The more technology being integrated into the web the more your graph grows of social data.
“The person is more likely to choose you if you’re recently engaged in conversation that keeps your social graph fresh and relevant”.- Jeff Korhan
The only downsides to social graphs are the issues of logging into so many different social networks, which can become confusing and duplicate information, which can be inaccurate. The more social networks we join the harder to collect accurate results. Another issue with social graphs are the conflict of interest and privacy issues. The idea of so much information being accessed over the web can seem a little unnerving and unfortunately businesses do not care about this information being private, they only care about how that information could improve and inform their businesses through the data collected.