SOCIAL MEDIA: The Power in Life

May I have your Facebook Account? nearly replaces the May I have your Mobile Number? phrase used by newly acquainted persons. It is more convenient for the computer-savvy to communicate through social media. Rise of social media giant like Facebook was spawned from greater needs for communication. Twitter caters for those thought bubbles which is too short for weblogs but can fit in 140 characters. YouTube allows video sharing convenience for everyone.

Just like anything else, these social media have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some points to ponder on the potency of social media.

The good powers:

1. For these recent years, social media have been used as a powerful tool in effective advertising. With these channels advertisers can expand the coverage of their reach through internet-savvy customers from all walks of life.

2. Marketers get better exposure for their merchandise. They can showcase their product lines with just one click of a button. Link-sharing through these social media is the new spread the word strategy.

3. Better awareness for the public is achieved with the help of social media. It is now easy to share informative items and get public opinion on almost anything. People now have a voice. Social media users can make themselves heard.

4. With the advent of communication tools like Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Gtalk and other communication platforms, staying in touch is more cost-effective.

5. People can now gain new friends with just one click or a few encoding of characters there.

The bad powers:

1. Bullying has always been a serious problem in real life. With the help of a computer, the effects of bullying can multiply a hundred fold. It is much easier now to post and share a photo or video using YouTube, Facebook or Twitter to taunt and humiliate a person. Cyber bullying can result to teen suicides.

2. Facebook, have replaced the living’s social life. Some bad feelings were born when your significant other failed to change his relationship status. Or your friends may get that cold shoulder because you failed to like or comment on their post. Or you may feel bad about a person because your real life friend declined a Facebook friend request from you. Sometimes it amounts to damaged relationships.

3. More and more people are being encouraged to live inside the computer, the internet to be specific. Junkies tend to confuse online life with reality. Success in social media discourages people to make real friends outside the four corners of their computers. Why invest on social skills when you can clearly substitute it with computer skills? Why watch TV with your family when you can watch it through YouTube by yourself in your computer? Why play outside when you can play online games with your friends? Why write meaningful essays when you can write in 140 characters?

The power can be a very potent weapon, to build or to destroy. Great power comes with an even greater responsibility. By carefully analysing and weighing down the gravity of the things we share with the public, we can all use this tool to everybody’s advantage.

How The Internet Business Can Make Money With The Social Media Sites

Understanding the big picture, the business concept, of the social media sites is crucial, because it gives you the idea how to utilize them for your internet business. What is their driving force?

1.What Is A Social Media Site?

As we see, the term is built of two words: media, which means advertising distribution channel and social, which means a group of same thinkers inside some bigger group of people. It also means the interaction between the group members. Both parts are very useful for the internet business marketing and actually belong to its basic vocabulary.

So social media means communication place, which is established for people, who has the same interest or hobby, where they can change ideas and share benefits. If you think your own internet business this sounds just great!

Wikipedia puts it in this way:

“Social Media is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into content publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many model, rooted in conversations between authors, people, and peers.”

It is important that social media uses the crowds and their own will to connect information in a manner they want. So the social media sites are voluntary and extremely interactice, which gives lots of benefits for their members in the form of internet business forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and videos. Funny thing is that social media sites are driven by users, they make the content.

2.How To Grab Attention In The Social Media Sites?

When people participate in the social media, they act in interest groups, which is natural. In the internet business marketing this is called segmentation. If an internet business marketer wants to grab attention on the site, he has to stand out from the crowd. The requirement to be different is the same than in other mediums.

Social media sites are like open markets, where you as one participant build your own brand, your own expertise, which attracts some of the group of the same thinkers and a part of these interested people want to visit your website. In a way the question is about pre selling job, but never about advertising.

If the social media site has exactly the same content or idea than your internet business site has, then it can be a lead producer for your website directly or your website can even be able to sell the products to the visitors. In case of the leads, it gives your internet business site a great opportunity to approach them later with several emails or newsletters.

The competition in the social media sites requires that you need the AIDA process: attention, interest, desire and action. It is a process which needs planning, because the sites are full of personal messages. The most important thing is your promise: what is so useful in your offer?

The social media sites offer a great place to build your own brand, which is a multistep process. It is all about information, about influences and about feelings towards different actors. Social media marketing also involves the process of promoting and spreading ideas among targeted internet business audiences. Social media marketing can also be used as a calculated tactic to nurture feelings or goodwill towards a specific website or internet business.

Social media marketing is a strategic and methodical process to establish your influence, reputation and brand within communities of potential customers, readers or supporters.

Going Viral – Social Media Epidemics

If pursuing alternative marketing techniques holds any interest for you, you will doubtless already know of campaigns or products that seemingly ‘went viral’ entirely on their own. Hotmail, Apple and, lately, Old Spice are prime examples, each of them representing a giant, gleaming marketer’s dream. The question, though, is how did they do it? So we’re going to look beyond the usual media coverage and examine the principles behind these success stories.

To do that, we need to get a little scientific.

A viral marketing campaign is so called because it spreads… and spreads… and spreads… In the biological world, viruses spread thanks to things called fomites. You don’t need to remember the word, but you do need to know that a fomite is, as any medical dictionary will tell you, ‘an inanimate object or substance, such as clothing, furniture or soap, that is capable of transmitting organisms from one individual to another’. It’s the agent in other words – the transmitter through which a virus moves from person to person, city to city, even continent to continent.

In medicine, for a virus to take hold and become an epidemic, the reproduction rate of the pathogen responsible for the virus has to be bigger than one. The graph below shows why. As you can see, reproduction rates of one or less (the blue and red lines) lead to little or moderate growth, which could be easily countered by other factors (vaccination, for example). Reproduction rates above one (the green line) are therefore critical to the success of an epidemic spread.

The same applies in the marketing arena. As marketers, our goal is to ‘infect’ as many people as possible with information in the form of messages, ideas or products. Do that properly and we create an epidemic. The trick, in social media terms, is to create that epidemic not via traditional advertising but through interpersonal relations. Here, the reproduction rate is influenced by many different factors:

• The transmission environment – Just as a biological disease adapts and flourishes due to the environment in which it is transmitted, so the ‘social virus’ or marketing concept relies on its environment. The relatively new online space and the interaction now offered by social networking sites and Web 2.0 mean that the parameters have changed – greatly increasing the opportunities for the virus to spread.

• The transmission path – In contrast to traditional advertising, most information being exchanged in this new environment is interpersonal or ‘buzz’. This means C-2-C (effectively consumer-to-consumer) instead of B-2-C. If we compare this to the behaviour of a biological virus, we can see that the social marketing epidemic becomes far more ‘contagious’ when the volume of ‘infected people’ grows.

• The transmitter – Remember those fomites – the inanimate agents that cause a biological virus to spread? They’re here in the marketing world, too, and they are just as crucial. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, Cyworld, Internet forums, email, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, podcasts, microblogging, vlogs, wall-postings, instant messaging, crowdsourcing… these are all fomites in the social marketing world. Because social epidemics exclude traditional mass media communication, they depend on choosing the right people and places in which to seed the message. The change-over to PR is fluent. The limitless reach of the Internet gives everybody a potentially big voice when it comes to opinion formation.

• The transmission object: Getting a certain reaction from your target market requires the creation of a trigger. That trigger can either be a product (Apple), an engaging piece of information (think here about the multimedia aspect of the wildly successful new Old Spice campaign) or in the case of Hotmail, the power of net effects.

Buzz

So for a message to successfully ‘go viral’ and become a virtual epidemic, it:

• requires a fertile environment where the idea can grow;
• needs to find the path of least resistance and highest contagion;
• must be planted with the right people and channels; and, most importantly…
• be genuinely worthy of generating mass social interest leading to mass social infection.

It’s basic biology!