I’ve just read an excellent report from Silicon Republic called ‘Digital Transformation; Engaging customers through social media which discusses the latest trends in social media and the impacts they have for digital marketers. The report states that one minute in every five spent on on-line is social media related. It also speaks of the media excitement generated by the social media giant Facebook; who in July of this year announced they had registered its 500 millionth member and whom Goldman Sachs invested $450m and valued the organisation at a $50bn. As the authors rightly points out this shows in no uncertain terms that Facebook cannot be dismissed as passing fad but is serious business and here to stay.
Developments in social media have important ramifications for organisations, not least in terms of their digital strategies.
For example, in SEO terms, more and more traffic is now being driven from social media sites such as FB or Twitter rather than search engines such as Google.
Also, we see a new highly successful phenomena emerging on-line with the growth of the ‘deal of the day’s websites such as Groupon or Social Living. These initiatives have very successfully enticed many people to try new services and products. When the Facebook equivalent; Facebook Deals launches in Ireland in the near future it is bound to be just as successful. Facebook Places already allows users to locate which friends are nearby, Facebook Deals will also allow them to check out what deals are on in business nearby. They will also be able to recommend and share deals. Businesses will have a more immediate, direct channel to target groups and more opportunity to grow initiatives through customer recommendations or ‘likes’.
Another interesting development in social media is how Twitter has grown beyond its original brief of sharing information to become an invaluable channel for businesses to provide feedback and real-time customer support. And though Twitter may not have received funding from Goldman Sachs, the word ‘Tweet’ has been recently added the English Oxford Dictionary; surely a mark of its wide-spread use and credibility.
It is clear that these social media applications are playing an increasingly important role in many people lives and are a big part of how they engage with their world around them. The challenge now for organisations is to keep up with these new developments and changing customer habits and develop on-line experiences that are both relevant and exciting.