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This social networking thing is gonna be big, man. Really big. Bigger than email.
A confirmation of the absolute "big bang" expansion theory of social networks came from Nielsen Online today. Its "Global Faces and Networked Places" report shows that by the end of 2008, 66.8 percent of internet users across the globe accessed “member communities” last year, compared to 65.1 percent for email.
There’s so much talk about social media that it is easy for people to become cynical, perhaps losing track of the fact that it can have a positive impact on your business.
So how can you determine whether a social media strategy is proving beneficial to your business? How do you know that it is working out for you? And is now really the best time to find out?
Rather than focusing on individual social media campaigns, I’d like to look at social media measurement from the perspective of a business that a) buys into social media, b) commits to it over a period of time, and as such c) has an integrated social media strategy. You people know who you are!
Online scams are a billion dollar a year business. It has even been reported that, as far as profitability is concerned, online crime beats the drug trade.
It's not hard to see why online crime has skyrocketed. Scammers don't even need to leave the comfort of their own homes to exploit the ample criminal opportunities that exist online.
When it comes to innovation, look to the non-profits. When you're short of marketing megabucks, necessity can be the mother of some pretty interesting inventions. Consider the Obama campaign, or PETA.org's fascinating forays into viral marketing.
Amnesty International UK has just announced a new initiative that takes into account a factor that's huge in email marketing, but little used in social media: timing. At 1:10 p.m. on Friday, they're asking supporters to drop a coordinated social media bomb to raise awareness about violence against women in the UK.
Why Friday, why 1:10, you ask? Relevance. Friday March 6 is International Womens Day, and one in ten is the ratio of women in Britain who are victims of rape or violence.
A recent study by Netpop Research serves to only further assert the fact that social media is rapidly changing the way brands operate, due to the increase of consumer control.
The report is purely US-based, but it certainly seems fair to suggest that this trend can be applied globally, as there is an ever-growing permeation of social media into daily consumer life. The study concludes that there is a shift in consumer internet usage from entertainment towards communication, and it's being driven by social media and networking sites.
It's hard to say that Rupert Murdoch's $550m acquisition of MySpace in 2005 wasn't a savvy move. Last year alone, despite missing revenue targets, MySpace pulled in more revenue than Murdoch paid to acquire the popular social network.
But all does not appear to be well at the world's second-largest social network. Despite the fact that under News Corp., MySpace has become the best-monetized social network, it has lost significant ground amongst consumers. Last year Facebook surpassed it as the world's largest social network and it's poised to become the largest social network in the United States as well, a country that MySpace had previously dominated.
Greg Jackson is Executive director and responsible for online strategy for Tangent PLC, whose recent clients have included Borders and the Labour Party.
Tangent has recently been working with the Labour Party, revamping its website, and developing LabourList, a blog / social media site, as well as promoting the party via sites like Facebook and Twitter.
I have been talking to Greg about Labour's use of social media, as well as the company's work launching Borders' first e-commerce site in the UK...
Last week I wrote about Facebook's latest privacy flub which involved a change to the Facebook terms of service that didn't go over too well with Facebook users and the media.
In response to this, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued his standard apology. But that apparently wasn't enough.
Alex Cameron is the leader of a community of young British film makers which is asking the general public to contribute online to the costs of making their film 'Michael's Resignation' in return for a share of any profits made from the film.
I've been talking to Alex about the project, which has made use of social media sites like Facebook to attract talent, promote, and even write the script for the film, and the challenges he has had in getting the project together...
Matthew Yeomans is the founder of Custom Communications and has worked in journalism for the last fifteen years. He is currently Managing Director at social media agency Radar DDB.
I have been talking to Matthew about the difficulties involved in social media measurement, and social media in general...
Twitter's all the rage right now. In social media and digital marketing circles, Twitter seems to be taking over the world.
I have a different perspective: it's not. For all of Twitter's growth, I believe it has yet to achieve what it needs to achieve to become a viable marketing platform for businesses.
Facebook is on top of the world. Its continued growth is nothing short of amazing and it now has over 175m members worldwide. It's adding 600,000 each day.
Of course, Facebook has yet to turn its popularity into the type of revenue it needs to thrive long-term but if there's one thing that could bring Facebook down, it's not revenue. It's privacy.