A cliché way to start the article would sound like this: Social networking has never been more prominent in our lives.
In response, I would say that social networking has never been more hated in our lives. We recognise our addiction to it, yet, most of us never have the courage to go cold turkey. What bliss would it be to go away from all of the envy-enticing photos of friends on the Sunshine Coast, away from the duck face poses, and away from the ads!
Yet, we still use it. So I asked myself, why?
1. Google Plus
What do you do when you want to find answers to something? You google it, of course.
Google has undeniably become the master of our universe, an integral tool in our lives. So much so, that ‘googling’ has become a reflexive action in times of uncertainty and boredom.
Enter Google Plus. It’s only two years old, but as of May 2013, it has surpassed Twitter to be the second largest social networking site.
Demographically, Google Plus is skewed towards the male population. Dadadial conducted a survey and across the top five countries that use Google Plus - US, India, Brazil, UK and Canada. In all five countries, it was found that approximately 71.24% of all users were male.
But what makes Google Plus so attractive? Aside from its easy accessibility, #s and integration with Gmail, Youtube and everything Google, its sleek interface is a key factor. Personally, its smooth interface reminds me of CEO’s sipping expensive champagne upon clear glass office desks. Also, what differentiates it from all other forms of social networking is its ability to create ‘circles’. This allows the user to create multiple groups of friends, all separate from one another. In this way, “you can share as broadly or narrowly as you want,” to quote Google.
A particular feature of marketing which is equally as important as product promotion is maintaining and developing customer relationship. Company pages on Facebook make feeble attempts to catch the viewer’s attention through cute cat pictures. Yet, on Google Plus, one can upload and stream 1080pp videos. Promotion and advertising through video? Why not. Don’t we do this all the time?
Although Google Plus is not as mainstream in Australia as in the US, it certainly has great potential. Who knows, maybe Facebook will become obsolete one day.
Ask any average stranger using Facebook, “Why are you using Facebook?” The answer would probably be along the lines of “Because everyone else is.”
The proportion of 18-29 year olds in the entire Facebook population (total global audience of 4 million) stand at 86%, and the end to its exponential growth seems very far away.
An advantage of Facebook is that it is a huge part of a consumer’s life, and many social aspects of users are centralised on Facebook. However, in that sense Facebook has become extremely cluttered, not only in the news feed but also in the sidebar. Users have grown accustomed to it and therefore tend to ignore posts.
Businesses - never fear. Just run a competition asking participants to “share” or “like” to increase audience and awareness of your product! You never know how many times a person will share or like to increase their chances of winning.
Flickr has died. But its skeletal remains are something to commend and swoon about. Certainly, Flickr is a shadow of its former glory as a photo-sharing social network. With its terabyte free storage space, Flickr has a great potential to become a cloud service.
A major downside to Flickr is its inability for mobile integration. It has failed to recognise the rise of smartphones and adapt to its changing environmental landscape.
And thus, it shall forever be buried in the Internet graveyard, catering its services to the occasional loyal ghost.
Tumblr is generally viewed by the public as a “hipster” microblogging site, and as a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter. Furthermore, it has a very cute interface that will make you go awwwww.
Similarly to Twitter, you ‘follow’ blogs and people. But there is less hassle on Tumblr than on Twitter to post with a variety of functions available without having to navigate away from the start page. These include the ability to post quotes, photos, links, videos and texts.
As with all forms of social media, the majority of users are 18-29 year olds, but only 6% of all internet users use it. This makes it one of the most unpopular mediums of social media. However, gender spread is relatively even - where 50% of Tumblr users are male and 50% are female.
Ultimately, business suitability for Tumblr is extremely low. But due to Tumblr’s visual nature, industries focusing on creativity such as the performing arts, fashion and media should definitely consider it as an option as a space to showcase its products and/or services.
It is a beautiful Monday morning, and I wake up to the sound of birds tweeting. tweeet tweet...tweet tweet. I then turn on my phone and I tweet.
Twitter is exactly what it sounds like - “a short burst of inconsequential information,” to use the words of founder Jack Dorsey. With a 140 character limit, tweets must be short and concise. The SMS of the internet.
Twitter has a high celebrity presence, and it is generally used as a ranting space. This is mainly due to the fast and instantaneous ability to connect with one’s followers. At approximately 21%, most internet users who use twitter live in urban areas. Interestingly, there is a significant Hispanic population (28% of all Twitter users).
Unlike Facebook, tweets do not spread through the number of ‘likes’ or popularity of a post. Rather, it is aimed towards ‘retweets’ that spread the news from one person to another (just like the mockingjays). Businesses on Twitter should thus aim to operate their marketing strategies on the law of averages, as well as mass bombardment.
Connections. Networks. Every business school graduate knows the importance of knowing the right person for the right job, at the right time. LinkedIn is social media’s answer to this.
LinkedIn is hailed a professional networking site as well as the social media for job seekers. Therefore, it certainly is more formal, and the average user of LinkedIn is aged 44.
It is a site recruiters trawl through to search for potential employees, while also providing its corporate customers understand how effective they are in terms of retaining employees or how often they lose talent to its rival corporations. Furthermore, users may contribute information and important news items that occur in the business world.
Everything on Instagram is Insta-hot. The main appeal of Instagram is its easiness that doesn’t compromise its chic-ness. Launched in October 2011 in the Apple app store, within 24 hours it became the most popular app. In addition, it holds the record for the quickest app to reach 1 million downloads.
Users span pictures and apply instant filters that would usually take extensive photoshop knowledge to achieve the same effect. Also, as a photo sharing application, it has succeeded mainly because its ability to instantly share on Flickr, Posterous and Tumblr. Users can follow, like and tag photos, as well as discover and share pictures through hashtags.
Most of the users are adults aged 18-29, women. In the US, users are mainly African-Americans and urban residents but these surveys usually discount the ‘underage’ users that EVERYONE knows are using.
How can businesses take advantage of this phenomenon that has got the world snapping away? Similarly to Facebook, businesses may run promotional campaigns through “regramming”, which involves encouraging users to share your promotion to their followers and friends. Also, by asking your customers to ‘instagram’ their experiences with a product, you enhance customer engagement with your company!
YouTube really does allow you to Broadcast Yourself.
Firstly, YouTube is a video sharing website. Based on Adobe Flash, users upload, view or share videos. Each user is given a 15min time limit for each video.
Secondly, Youtube is a social network site. How so, you ask?
Video channels are a medium of self expression, and they reach out to other users to get their message across. One can post comments, rate (like or dislike) the video. Links to the video may easily be shared via email, blog, comments or forums. Also, video annotations and closed captioning are features that are highly invasive, but may also be used in instances for subtitles or additional comments seen alongside the video.
You don’t need to worry about combing through the entire site just to find videos uploaded by a specific user. Youtube can create a personal news feed tailored to you, based on your subscriptions. Its algorithm also gives you customised recommendations based on your viewing history (videos that are somewhat creepily relevant).
In the US alone, there are 175,698,699 users per month, and on a global scale is particularly appealing to the under 18 to 18-24 age range.
Nonetheless, YouTube stands for a wide variety of uses - educational, promotional, entertainment and also personal. Potential uses for businesses include ‘bonus web content’ for advertising, or for raising awareness for a particular cause. And besides who doesn’t like the opportunity to upload TV ads for free?
Pinterest is championed as a “pinboard-style photo-sharing website,” where users search, upload and manage an image or video collection of their interests and hobbies. Also, external images not on the Pinterest website are able to be bookmarked and uploaded onto an image board. The images are available to share through Facebook and Twitter, ultimately making it a photo-sharing social network.
Of all the Pinterest users, more than 80% are women. Featuring a feminine interface, Pinterest has been described as “digital crack for women.”
Businesses likely to experience success with Pinterest would mainly be oriented in the hospitality or fashion industry, and use it for product promotion. Also, ‘sneak peek’ snaps of unreleased products could be used to generate excitement and anticipation in customers.
As a social media site, Reddit is essentially a bulletin board system,
Users post comments or entries and their submissions are voted up or down. Content on a page are links, texts and/or images.
Although largely anonymous, as a social networking site, Reddit users are able to “friend” each other. This results in friends being able to see what his/her peer has recently commented on or posted. Furthermore, posts may be linked to both Twitter and Facebook, thereby increasing its audience space. Users are given “karma” points - rewards for submitting articles.
Demographically, Reddit is mainly made up of American users, however it also operates on a global scale. Unlike other forms of social networking sites, Reddit users mainly lie in the 35-45 age range, insinuating materials that may potentially be NSFW.
Ultimately, for business purposes, Reddit may not be as useful for advertising purposes. However, it has great potential as a discussion forum for (sneaky) market research, in addition to using it as a place to discover customer frustration.
Now pardon me as I share this on my Facebook timeline…..