The Rise of the Social Economy
Social media has really made it’s mark on 2010. Twitter and Facebook seem to be in the headlinesalmost every day, Hollywood is even making a movie about Facebook, and it seems as if everycompany is now looking to social media to help propel themselves beyond the aftermath of theGFC. But there is still a lot of confusion about what social media actually is and where the threatsand opportunities lie.In this article I take a close look at the social media landscape, describe some of the “platforms”,examine how these are changing the market place and outline a strategic framework for deployingsocial media as a branding, marketing, PR and intelligence tool.
What is social media really?
The big social media brands are YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn but they are just that – brands, and like any brand they are designed to cater to a certain niche to meet a specific need.As with any successful product or service the people behind these brands spotted a market needand developed a solution to it. They then had to work out how to generate revenue. Because socialmedia is able to generate a huge amount of data about each user (age, gender, place of work,where they live, things they like, people they know and so on) the most obvious choice was toprovide highly targeted advertising. Facebook is the brand that has managed to do this mostsuccessfully so far. But it is still early days – and Google is yet to weigh in seriously.
The market leaders do not define the market.
Social media is the convergence of technology and the desire people have to be heard andconnected. In an age where people are feeling increasingly isolated, social media has managed toconnect people with old friends, complete strangers and interest groups - or said another wayconnect people to the "market segments" they wish to belong to. This has happened in a way noother technology has been able to do.We humans are essentially tribal animals and social media has allowed us to gather into thesenew 'location free tribes' incredibly fast. What's more, the users of social media like it and wantmore.The march of social media is now unstoppable. There have been times this year where the amountof time spent on Facebook eclipsed the time spent on Google. This competition is only going tointensify. Facebook recently released some new tools to extend its reach and influence over thewhole of the web. Recently rumours around a new service called GoogleMe have started tosurface.Social media is now becoming more than a marketing experiment. By the end of the year themajority of big name companies will be looking at how social media can be directly integrated intotheir brand strategy. It will be the core of any new digital strategy.
Why has it happened?
Networking and collaboration is fundamental to what it means to be human. In our bodies atomswork together to create cells and cells work together to create our organs. In our brains’ neurons