Thursday, October 1, 2009
Love it or hate it ; you ain't gonna escape it.
Social networking sites have created this sudden and deep need to connect with people. An addict myself, I find an urge to rush to my computer and update my status on Facebook and read other status updates. It is the largest social networking site and has more than 250 million users. A number of awfully jaw dropping and unproductive ‘quizzes’ have further increased the usage. A number of mini games have been incorporated in the form of applications to get the users addicted. A fair number of groups are being created in discussing marketing research, politics etc.. but their activity continues to remain dormant. Popular companies like Adidas and Vodafone are already viewing Facebook as a medium to reach out to consumers. Vodafone cashed in the zoozoo fever by getting more than 3 lakh fans.
The usefulness of a social networking site can be debated under large lengths. But, the reality is clear : Social Networking sites are hear to say and are growing in importance and number of users. A rapid growth in users are proof enough that it is of no relevance to discuss the practical uses of this new digital tool. Social networking sites are evolving as a medium of exponential growth in order to connect with people and for companies to study consumer behaviors and patterns. LinkedIn, a popular networking site, touches on the professional aspects of networking. More than 45 million people use LinkedIn to exchange business ideas and opportunities. Companies verify your LinkedIn profiles before recruiting you. Its fast growing as a recruitment website and companies ask for LinkedIn profiles to assure consumers are tech savvy and analyse their peer groups as well. They also have groups to discuss social issues and share other vital data. Issues pertaining to politics, social issues etc... are discussed in large numbers and also form a way of obtaining knowledge and understanding different mindsets. It acts as an opinion hub to understand various people and assimilate their ideas. Making friends with the help of 'connections' and getting to know new people in your industry through introductions from your friends is a common feature in LinkedIn.
Twitter, a popular site is emerging as the new growing marketing monster. Corporates are realising the immense potential this site has and its ability to reach a vast number of people. Its fame has grown owing to a host of celebrities hooking on to this site to post 140 character updates about what they are doing?, or how they feel? or what they eat?, when they bathe? what color dress? etc... As horrific as it sounds, MILLIONS of 'followers' are all ears to know what their favorite stars are upto. It helps to get more followers if you post a nude picture (Lindsay Lohan).
Twitter has definitely arrived into mainstream consciousness. From business perspective, the CEO uses twitter to communicate the company policies in an easy and quick manner and its reach is bigger as it requires only a mobile. It enables him to connect at a personal level and understand the employees point of view on various issues.A recent conversation with my friend in Australia made me understand the multiple uses of twitter. It can be used in class rooms to post questions(for those who are shy to stand up and ask) and the professor checks his account and answers these questions. (One can wonder if they would EVER be listening to the lecture with a mobile in hand). Many companies use twitter to talk about their product features and their promotional offers.
Social Networking sites have a huge base and marketeers must cash in on this fast arising medium. It is playing a key role in shaping the digital media which is booming.