Steven Gradidge. Hi :)

Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking

What exactly is social media? If Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like? Or is it the way online media is propagated? A mixed of both as well as others I think most will agree. I have spoken before about how life has always been social. Business continues to become more so with the proliferation of services such as LinkedIn but at the end of the day, social media being new is a false claim.

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Three days ago (Monday 7th November) Google announced the arrival of Google+ Pages for brands. After having a couple of days to play around with the platform. I’m both pleasantly surprised and bitterly disappointed with the features.

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It has been quite a week for social media for a variety of reasons and working for a social media agency gives me the opportunity to look at what is going on within the social sphere.

On Monday, social media sparked into life and proved its political might by the outrage that ensued following on from the NOTW phone hacking allegations. Now we know that plenty of social media storms come and go with very little impact to organisation/ individual. Dare I say it; that is the point. We can have a moan about the hot topic of the moment and once it gets cold and boring, we move on to the next thing.

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For the mainstream media, Facebook has often been the target in the scope. Remember the outcries of privacy despair that ensued the rollout of Beacon? Facebook seemingly monopolised all privacy concerns because it had not only monopolised online conversation, but social data collection too. Have Facebook users learnt anything? Have Facebook? The latter seemingly so but the former; heck no! It still shocks me to see what people upload to their (open, unguarded, open to the public) profiles. Date of births, full postal code addresses, telephone numbers and other personal and identifiable information are a common site.

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Following on from last weeks popular piece highlighting the numbers behind Facebook’s rise to prominence/dominance, I returned in earnest to my desk to look at its neighbours/competitors ‘numbers’; in this instance, Twitter! Expect to find a number of interesting usage reports and statistics (though considerably more humble than Facebook’s!) and please, once again enjoy and comment with any reactions and thoughts.

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Facebook’s advertising capital was previously held in being able to target who, what and when. The latest weapon in its artillery is: where! Now the world’s largest social network with over 500 million users has recently announced its new geo-location service, Places. The announcement of Places is starting to cause a bit of a stir in the circles of marketing and advertising. Facebook’s geo-locations service allows users to see where friends are and share location details in real time. Many believe it to be a long overdue feature. Popular social networking services such as Twitter, Foursquare and Gowalla are already offering location based services (LBS) through a variety of portals and platforms.

45% of Facebook traffic is driven through mobile usage, highlighting Facebook Places’ potential to rival if not kill-off existing LBS. There are over 1.7million active monthly users of Facebook’s iPhone application alone (FB site). At the moment there seems to be a love/hate relationship with consumers and LBS. According to a recent survey by Webroot, 55% of LBS users had privacy concerns over using such services and 45% are worried of the possibility of informing potential burglars of their whereabouts. Women appear to be significantly more worried than men over the concerns of LBS, which open way to my main point of argument.

Marketers have always had to ask what lends itself to make a successful campaign. The marketing mix aims to fuse these different elements in adversarial bliss in the aim to succeed (however success is measure!) As like any other element of the mix, geolocation needs to be validated. Merely implementing its uses will not cumulate to a successful campaign. Questions to consider; how can it be utilised successfully? Can it? How will it benefit the consumer/customer? How can it benefit the business? Can it? All pretty obvious questions but with something as game changing as Places, the buzz of the fanfare can be followed up with a sting.

Since becoming established in any given marketing campaign, social media has forced social action. Initially the true value hasn’t been the technology itself but how we’ve used it; that may well be about to change. Two in every five smart phones are now equipped with geo-location hardware and with more services expected to crop up later this year (Google Buzz 2.0 perhaps), a second wave of innovation is defining a new era and setting the stage for the future. The technological medley of smart phones, mobile broadband and LBS applications will connect us in more meaningful ways as both consumers and advertisers that matter most to us. Watch this space…