Social Networking Vs Emails

The Year 2010- 2011 witnessed a major boom in the field of social networking. Facebook and Twitter were the new buzz words. Google also entered the social networking domain with launch of Google+. Social networking has managed to bridge the gap between real life communication and virtual world. People find it easier to upload pictures of their personal moments, so that their friends can share their thoughts about the same. Social networking offers a real time communication platform to all its users. Even businesses have started to look at social networking as an opportunity to expand their business and reach the wider mass.

Social Networking Vs Emails

In this entire process of social networking boom, use of emails has declined considerably. Honestly think when was the last time you sent a personal email to a friend or relative. People would rather prefer to chat on different social networking sites or just post a message on their social networking Ids. Statistics by Comscore reveal that time spent on Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Hotmail and other e-mail services has declined in most Asia-Pacific regions, the most impacted are India and Malaysia. On the contrary, time spent on social networking sites has increased. There is a 40% increase in social networking users.

Emails are currently restricted to business use. Corporate giants like Coke and Dell are also utilizing the power of social networking to communicate with their customers. Social networking definitely offers a personal touch compared to emails, however social networking sites do not offer the privacy offered by emails. Social networking sites target the youth whereas emails have a larger target audience. Middle age adults still prefer to communicate via emails and telephone vis-à-vis social networking sites. Many middle aged adults find social networking sites complex to use. Considering the above mentioned scenario, one needs to rethink about Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that emails are dead.

Social networking sites are definitely the choice of today’s generation however speaking about the larger spectrum of audience, emails still exist. The question is whether emails would continue to be preferred form of communication in the coming years. If social networking site owners are able to counter the privacy issues on these sites then probably emails would be a history at least for personal communication.

It is too early to comment on extinction of emails as per statistics on business use of emails. Statistics reveal that typical business user sends and receives 105 messages daily. Around 49 per cent of e-mail users live in the Asia Pacific region. One cannot deny the fact that emails are safer and more legitimate way of communicating as compared to social networking. Only time will tell, if emails survive the social networking attack. Let’s wait and watch.

Social Media for Missing People

If you are a frequent Facebook user then you must have come across a page created for searching Arwa Korakiwala; a 5 year old, which went missing from her school in Santacruz on Saturday. Thousands of users on Facebook have liked this search page and have also posted the same on their walls. This is not the first time that netizens are coming together for a social cause. Thousands of people created awareness and shared Arwa’s family member’s details so that they could be contacted in case Arwa was found. Increasing number of re-tweets only indicates people’s concern over the issue.

A report in Indian Express dated 10th Jan 2012 stated that ‘by Monday evening, more than 13, 157 users on Facebook had liked the page and more than 1, 76,730 had shared it. Moreover on Tuesday morning I noticed that the number of likes increased to 17,000+ and was shared more than 2,00,000+ times!! That’s a humongous number!! This is not the first instance where social media has been used to create awareness and help in tracing the missing children. Few months ago, social networking sites saw flurry of wall posts and likes for karnit Shah, a five year old boy who went missing from Kandivali, Mumbai. Karnit was later found in Uttar Pradesh and was successfully re-united with his family.

The above two instances are definitely eye openers for social media critics. These instances prove that social media is an extremely powerful tool; provided one leverages its potential aptly. If used diligently, Social media pages can prove to be of great help in tracing the missing people. One must however be cautious of the fact that the social media search should not be endless. Parents/ Relatives or social networking page administrators must take appropriate steps in informing the netizens that the missing person has been found. One can also consider, deleting the page dedicated to search the missing person, once the person has been found and netizens have been notified. This will go a long way in preventing chaos and confusions.
One simply cannot ignore the role played by social media in tracing the missing people. This is just the start. Over a period of time, Social media will definitely play a larger role in handling the social issues.

Is Google+ plus better than Facebook?

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The social networking war has begun. The new Google+ promises to be better than facebook. Several people have already started moving to Google+ and building connections there. The question in the long run is to see if Google+ kills the facebook craze.

Google+ beats facebook hands down on several aspects.  Considering the below mentioned aspects, facebook seems to face a bleak future.

  1. Privacy: Facebook has many privacy issues. People find their accounts hacked or hit by virus. Recent privacy breaches with facebook have forced users to look out for other options. Google’s reputation for data privacy is well known across the globe. Google has carefully planned the launch of its social networking application. Google assures maximum data privacy.
  2. Selective share options: Google+ has introduced wonderful feature called circles. It is not necessary that you add a person to your circle. You can create separate circles only for friends, family, co-workers or mere acquaintances. You can choose what you want to share with your circles. So now you can share a status update just for your family or for specific set of friends. This feature is not available on facebook.
  3. Easy upload of pictures: Google has smartly linked Picasa to Google+ therefore it is extremely easy to upload pictures or share your albums as per your choice. If you don’t want to share a particular Picasa album on Google+ then you need to just change the settings of the album to private.
  4. Group video chat: Google has gone a step ahead of facebook and introduced group video chats on their hangout section. What else can a savvy user ask for?
  5. Circles: Circles are the best feature of Google+ so far. On facebook you had to add people whom you really did not want to connect with; just to stay guilt free. However with Google+, you can label people in different circles and therefore restrict your data information for them. They would never know what you have labeled them as.

Looking at the way Google+ has taken off, it may soon be the “most happening and safe social networking site”

Social Media Predictions

Over the past years social media has become an imperative tool for internet marketers. It has gradually made a place for itself and is steadily changing the pattern of how individuals or corporate houses market, promote and maintain their present and potential customer base online. Listed below are the few predictions by avid online marketers.

2011 will see online marketers with more conversational tools to engage the clients. Instead of simply focusing on engagement of the end customer, the marketers will concentrate on technologies and ideas that will stimulate conversations. Like the QR code, the new technologies will be completely driven by data measurement as well.

As the paid search engines and ultimately conversion rates continuously decline and become expensive more and more companies are going to be engaging themselves in social media to reach the end customer through expansion of man power and budget.

Social media will not be called a new media any more. It will be a mainstream tool and will attract a lot more budget by the corporate marketing team. Internet users of all age groups who till now stayed away from online magazines, newspaper and journals will soon become avid users of the same including watching the short and the long videos. They will stay connected with family, colleagues and friends as they move from one geolocation to another on social media platforms. As letters were replaced by emails, soon emails may be replaced by Face book.

Profile security will be a cause of concern and a huge issue as the data on user and personalized sharing will be more emphasized than ever. Small time businesses will get a better chance of competing against big names on social platform.

The users of social media will demand much more from it. Businesses will want more proof to driving business; the regular users will look towards more quality substance while the regular practitioners will have to demand excellence from themselves.

2011 will see more success stories of social media marketing with many more corporate houses jumping the line with variety of campaigns on Face book, Twitter and other geo location networks. Creativity will continue to thrive with social media gaining support from evidence that it actually works.

Internet world is still not being used by more than four to five billion people from all over the world. The internet population may just double this year with new users from South Asia, Africa and South America. The social media should gear up to satisfy the needs of the growing internet population who are looking for quality information, specificity and education.

2011 will definitely be a year of integration. With one to one marketing being an idea for decades, we may finally see it taking shape this year. Individual promotional mails will be sent to clients who clicked a particular link on Twitter.

Social media pages will soon become promotional hubs with exclusive offers to a set of warm audiences.

Social Media and the Most Engaged Brands in 2010

Engagement in social media is indispensable for any reputed brand, as it enables them to reach their customers in just no time. However, it provides them a lot of flexibility and creativity. Apart from advertising cultivating an image, the loyalty of customers is earned through interaction. With the help of social media, you can actually get connected with your consumers and show your brand’s message and the feedback of consumers.
As per the recent reports, here are the brands of 2010 that are the most engaged in social media extensively to get connected with their consumers:
Starbucks:
Starbucks, a name that is widely held all over the world, has worked brilliantly on their web presence. This coffee giant has taken its name to every corner of the world using social media like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Foursquare and mobile applications. Apart from this, they have their own social network called ‘My Starbucks Ideas’. The company is leading the way on the social platforms using the most engaging and attractive profiles. What’s more! Starbucks is going to dominate the place in social media for the coming years as well.
If you check out the twitter page of Starbucks, you will find over 1 million followers with a lot of active conversations. Starbucks makes a point to respond to every tweet they get, be it a complaint of an unpleasant experience, some mentions or just an interesting conversation.  Besides that, 15 million people have liked this brand on Facebook.
Coca-cola:
However, at the second place only, but Coca-cola is one of the most recognized brands of the world. With 142,000 followers on twitter and over 15 million fans following on Facebook, this soda company amplifies its brand message quite well.
In addition to that, they have active conversations on twitter and a lot of interesting activities for its fans on Facebook. Their YouTube channel is amazing and works astonishingly well with a viral video leading to the Twitter page of the Coke’s inventor, Doc Pemberton.
Oreo:
As per the reports of Famecount, Oreo occupies the third position in the list of the most engaged brands in social media. Running the business successfully since 1912 and with over 12 million fans on Facebook, this cookie making company has showcased its potential of being creative, flexible and real staying power. Additionally, it is focusing mainly on its YouTube channel with the DSRL’s videos.
Skittles:
Skittles work amazingly with their online presence with more than 12 million fans on Facebook. Even the website of the company works really well with its interacting features for the users like posting photos, voting opportunities etc. With its “Mob The Rainbow” feature, they engage the users with some activity related to a social good.
Red Bull:
This energy drink producing Austrian company offers a nice and interactive page on Facebook with more than 10 million fans. Along with an engaging and interactive Game page, the company runs creative contests from time to time that appeal the core consumers of the brand. Not only that, this energy drink producing company has done an excellent job with iphone applications, iPad and iPod.
Hence, social media is a great tool that enables the companies to interact with their audience give them an insight into who they are, how they feel and what they want.

Engagement in social media is indispensable for any reputed brand, as it enables them to reach their customers in just no time. However, it provides them a lot of flexibility and creativity. Apart from advertising cultivating an image, the loyalty of customers is earned through interaction. With the help of social media, you can actually get connected with your consumers and show your brand’s message and the feedback of consumers.

As per the recent reports, here are the brands of 2010 that are the most engaged in social media extensively to get connected with their consumers:

Starbucks:

starbucks-logo

Starbucks, a name that is widely held all over the world, has worked brilliantly on their web presence. This coffee giant has taken its name to every corner of the world using social media like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Foursquare and mobile applications. Apart from this, they have their own social network called ‘My Starbucks Ideas’. The company is leading the way on the social platforms using the most engaging and attractive profiles. What’s more! Starbucks is going to dominate the place in social media for the coming years as well.

If you check out the twitter page of Starbucks, you will find over 1 million followers with a lot of active conversations. Starbucks makes a point to respond to every tweet they get, be it a complaint of an unpleasant experience, some mentions or just an interesting conversation.  Besides that, 19 million people have liked this brand on Facebook.

Coca-cola:

coca-cola2

However, at the second place only, but Coca-cola is one of the most recognized brands of the world. With less than 2 lac followers on twitter and over 21 million fans following on Facebook, this soda company amplifies its brand message quite well.

In addition to that, they have active conversations on twitter and a lot of interesting activities for its fans on Facebook. Their YouTube channel is amazing and works astonishingly well with a viral video leading to the Twitter page of the Coke’s inventor, Doc Pemberton.

Oreo:

Oreo

As per the reports of Famecount, Oreo occupies the third position in the list of the most engaged brands in social media. Running the business successfully since 1912 and with over 16 million fans on Facebook, this cookie making company has showcased its potential of being creative, flexible and real staying power. Additionally, it is focusing mainly on its YouTube channel with the DSRL’s videos.

Skittles:

skittles

Skittles work amazingly with their online presence with more than 14 million fans on Facebook. Even the website of the company works really well with its interacting features for the users like posting photos, voting opportunities etc. With its “Mob The Rainbow” feature, they engage the users with some activity related to a social good.

Red Bull:

Red Bull

This energy drink producing Austrian company offers a nice and interactive page on Facebook with more than 14 million fans. Along with an engaging and interactive Game page, the company runs creative contests from time to time that appeal the core consumers of the brand. Not only that, this energy drink producing company has done an excellent job with iphone applications, iPad and iPod.

Hence, social media is a great tool that enables the companies to interact with their audience give them an insight into who they are, how they feel and what they want.

Knowing Whether Social Media Is Ideal For Your Business

The hype associated with Social Media Marketing (SMM) has been around for several years now. Since it has been on the lips of everyone and companies alike – both large and small – have taken the plunge and launched Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as blogs.

Social media marketing should not be embarked on blindly. Of great importance is getting to know whether social media is right for YOUR particular business.

Regrettably, this is a question that very few business people ask themselves prior to registering for a Twitter account or creating a blog. You must be asking yourself, ‘What is the best way of determining whether my business should employ social media to boost sales?’ The first step should be monitoring what your potential and current customers are saying presently and note which medium they use as their mouthpiece.

Having a Facebook fan page would seem very appropriate, but what if your fan base/followers are on Twitter only? Having a blog may seem like a no-brainer but if none of your clientele (present and potential) read blogs or subscribe to their feeds, it would be futile. You have to know exactly which media will give you maximum results and thus being worth your while.

I agree that collecting complete and accurate statistics for your Social Media Marketing campaign can be somewhat tricky and at the same time, very time consuming. Gurus in social media marketing have come up with a tactic that can help in determining the best way of deciding whether you should employ Social Media Marketing and if so, which media would be ideal for you. Begin pilot programs of various media campaigns and allocate equal time dedication per week. Post blogs, update profiles and statuses, and get to build as many relationships as possible. Keep this going for approximately two months since it is virtually impossible to create a buzz in a day or two.

After establishing your brand, analyze which ones have managed to generate the largest buzz. If more people are visiting and making purchases via your Twitter page or LinkedIn profile maintain them. If for whichever reason blogs aren’t getting you the needed attention, then you need to get to shut them down or dedicate less time and just make an online presence. In brevity, what I mean is that you should focus greatly on marketing outlets that are making you visible in the online fraternity since they are the ideal ones for your line and scope of business.

This is a vital process that allows you to avoid blindly following the social media hype which may end up being a waste of precious time. It allows you to join a social media where most of your customers can be found and allow you to converse with them whenever need be. It is important to be open minded when conducting the feasibility study knowing that NOT every business will require social media in order to be successful.

Happy monitoring 🙂 . Here’s to the future of your business and staying ahead of the game!

Voice Blogging – The Next Logical Step in Blogging

Blogging is undoubtedly the best way to reach out to your audience and create an impact. However, most bloggers detest the enormous amounts of typing that is necessary to maintain a blog. A simple solution to this problem is voice blogging, which means that now you can record and post your blogs onto your blog sites in your own voice, without really having to type. All you require is a voice enabled feature on your computer along with speakers and you are ready to voice blog. More often than not, people are excellent speakers and it is easy for them to share their thoughts orally than in writing and voice blogging is an excellent tool for such people.

There are two basic ways in which you can create voice blogs. Firstly, you record your message onto your computer and then post it onto your blog site. Alternatively, there are several social networking sites, where you call their allotted number to leave your blog message, which is then posted automatically onto your blog.

Voice blogging has its pros and cons, both of which have to be weighed before using this medium for reaching out to your clients. Primarily, this concept is truly easy and anyone who wants to blog can do so easily, even when on the move as all you have to do is call, record and post. Searching voice blogs is easy as they use the voice XML, however, ensure that you mention the exact term that denotes your blog as this makes searching easier.

One of the major disadvantages of this medium is the extensive nature of the content. In other words, there is so much content available on the internet that the probability of search engines finding your content and ranking it high is really difficult. In addition, there is no check on the content that is being uploaded, which increases chances of irrelevancy of content.

Moreover, while recording and posting your blogs cost no money, it could be expensive to call a number to post your blog, especially if you have to call long distance. Lastly, the constant advances in technology ensure that video blogging will soon overtake voice blogging, making the latter redundant in the future.

Irrespective of whether or not this concept picks up momentum and really succeeds, it is important to note that, as of today, this is a great tool to interact with your audience, which you can use even when on the move.

Avoid Being Annoying in Your Facebook Social Media Marketing Campaign

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I am certain that in your Facebook experience, there is a particular page you decided to ‘Like’ which got on your nerves completely; a couple of days into ‘liking’ and you ended up scouring for the ‘Unlike’ button. Having a Facebook Business profile doesn’t mean that you have to bore and nag your fans to get their attention. You need to have brilliant marketing skills to appeal to people on this 300 million plus member website.

Updates are certainly a very innovative way of communicating to your fans provided they are in lieu of communicating relevant and important things to them while still getting your bit of marketing done. Whether you like it or not, you have to practice Facebook Business page etiquette in order to maintain your fan base and avoid annoying any of them.

Updates

Do not abuse updates – it is that simple. It is so annoying logging into Facebook and finding 3 inboxes ALL from “Obama is The Best President Ever” fan page or “I Love Everything by Paco Robanne.” It is prudent to use the status update function for frequent updates and reserving the “Update All” feature only for important things. When it calls for updating all, have a clear trail of thought to ensure that you fit everything you want to communicate into one message.

Provide Worthwhile Information

As much as it may seem remarkable that you ordered pizza for all your employees, your fans would care less. Provide them information that will interest and affect them in one way or the other and make sure it is interesting to maintain interest from start to finish. Avoid throwing in links in every inbox message you sent. Be informative and don’t use the hard marketing technique. Of importance, ensure currency of your information.

Optimize Your Page for Better Usability

There are two major reasons for optimizing your page. Firstly, you need to ensure proper utilization of your page as a business resource and secondly, to improve navigation to certain areas of your site. You should add HTML codes and widgets in your business page to make it more interactive and usable.

Fill Out Your Profile

It is very surprising to have fan pages that lack bio and other relevant info describing the company. The main aim of a fan page is promoting your company. How do you promote a company that is not known? In essence it would take you a maximum of 5 minutes to complete; you owe it to your clients and would-be clients.

Add Content!

Your business page should be filled with content that is up-to-date. Include photos from company dinners, corporate social events etc, uplink videos and any other relevant content that you may have. I really do not need to caution against this but some people never know how far to take a joke. Avoid uploading a photo of yourself having drunk yourself to a stupor at the Christmas party.

Facebook has a lot of juice in it to boost sales volume, all you have to do is harness the resource and use it wisely.

Twitting Your Way to Discovery on the Web

I have to admit that the more I use twitter, the more reason I have to place it as my number one social media site. When Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends was interviewing approximately 17 business owners wishing to know their ideal and most preferred social media sites for marketing, my trail of thought was triggered instantly. Thinking critically about her question, which was:Which social media site would you use, if your goal was to grow a small online business and was allowed only one social media site?’ I realized that Twitter seemed to be the crème de la crème of all networking sites.

If Anita had asked me that question, I would categorize it as one of the no brainer ones that I have been asked in recent years. “Twitter!” would have rolled right off my tongue and I’d have 3 solid reasons supporting my answer. Twitter is a form of acceptable eavesdropping which allows and simplifies the process of joining any conversation. It is among the quickest ways of networking with people in your niche or industry. In addition, it gives a business, individual or company a personality – what they like and dislike.

Here are three reasons why I would choose Twitter as my sole social media marketing tool.

1.) Twitter is about the conversation.

You’re probably thinking that conversations can be held on other social media sites like Facebook and even blogs. The thing is that Twitter conversations are different, so to say. To elucidate on what I mean I will have to use analogies. While blogging, you run the show. It appears like you are on a dais speaking to the crowd and interacting with them via Q & A. Facebook on the other hand allows you one on one interactions with people who have profiles which give you a lot of insight. Now comes Twitter – a huge dinner party where people are having different conversations and you are at liberty of joining any that you please or starting your own which people can join! I’d like to refer to it as ‘conversational freedom’ since you can engage in multiple conversations simultaneously.

2.) Twitter can boost your blog.

It is possible to send a tweet with a link to your latest blog entry. Very many people consider RSS Feeds outdated with the advent of such tweets and prefer tweeting for locating good content. Apart from promoting your blog, Twitter has a plethora of blog topics which you may borrow for ideas or use as your own.

3.) Twitter is networking gold.

The importance of relationships cannot be stressed enough. Anyone wishing to launch a viral campaign, build links or get bloggers reviewing and blogging about their products needs relationships. Pitching is really quite simple even to someone without a journalistic background. All you require is to offer something of value and make an effort towards conjuring a relationship.

Twitter makes pitching easier since users share both personal and business information and as a merchant you can know a lot about your target.

In an ideal world such as this, I wouldn’t suggest using only one social media networking site for marketing your brand but Twitter should be your central social networking repository.

Untold Facts about Social Media Marketing

According to a study conducted by The E-tailing Group (an e-commerce consulting firm) and PowerReviews (an online customer review firm), Twitter and Facebook have undoubtedly seized the highest adoption rate in the realm of social media marketing, while customer reviews hold the highest ranking for a boost in increased customer engagement and sales.

This has caused numerous retailers and businessmen to rev up their social media marketing in the past 6 months by adopting Twitter and Facebook into their strategies. Out of the 117 respondents in the survey, three-quarters of them admitted to have accelerated their commitment and use of social media in the past half year.

The report dubbed “Community and Social Media Study” was released at an opportune time when companies were looking for breakthroughs that might help them shake off the effects of the economic crunch or the recession if you like, by cutting expenses. Social media marketing has been looked at as a very affordable way to promote various companies’ services and products compared to the basic online advertizing.

Considering that Facebook passed the 300 million mark [of registered members] towards the demise of last year, the customer base potential for retailers wishing to get their brand out there is so diverse.

The report goes on to reveal that 5 out of 10 social media tools reviewed in the study have been implemented by over 50% of retailers and brands in the market. It comes as no shock that the Facebook Fan Page tops the list having an 86% adoption rate.

Although the bulk of marketers prefer using Twitter and Facebook to promote their products, there are other equally good social media that can be implemented in marketing strategies. They include blogs and user or consumer reviews which have a 55% adoption rate by marketers and also viral videos which have been implemented by 50%.

“The intricate combination of social and community networking within e-commerce has reached a near-optimum level and thus is a benchmark that we will be monitoring yearly,” remarked the president of e-tailing group, Lauren Freedman. “Customer engagement in businesses has reached a critical mass and their involvement [via social and community media] or lack of, thereof can mark success or failure.”

What Continues Fueling The Already Stepped-up Pace?

It is a known fact that the chief reason of implementing social media marketing is to boost sales volume. Other than that, avid research discovered that there are three other reasons merchants have embraced this mode of marketing.

# 1 – All merchants want to be seen as trendy and current in their online presence – not obsolete using traditional marketing techniques such as promotional emails.

# 2 – Merchants fear that their clientele may ‘abandon ship’ and go to other e-commerce sites that are more socially engaging.

# 3 – Some want to clear their brand products or services especially if they are being degraded or spoken ill of by consumers or malicious competitors already on the social media sites like Twitter.

Freedman, in a statement predicts that the above named motivators which propelled the final wave of social media adoption will continue to do so in years to come.

Source: e-Tailing Group