Social Media and Your Business – it’s only a buzzword until you create a strategy
October 9, 2011 8 Comments
Miniwatts Marketing Group calculate that there are 6.94 billion people in the world and over 2 billion of them are connected to the internet. There are over 800 million Facebook accounts, which equates to almost half of all internet users and calculates to every 1 in 9 people in the world having a Facebook account. In fact, Facebook has so many active accounts that if it were a country, its population would make it the 3rd largest country in the world, after China and India.
Facebook isn’t the only social network with a large number of subscribers. In February of this year, YouTube advised that the site received 490 million unique visiting users every month. LinkedIn has over 101 millions users worldwide, Wikipedia currently hosts over 17 million articles, and Flickr hosts over 5 billion images and announced that there are approximately 3000 images uploaded every minute. In May of this year, there were on average 190 million tweets made each day, and there are nearly half a million new users signing up to Twitter each day. The most recent addition to social networks, Google+ was the fastest ever growing social network and in just a 16 day period 10 million accounts were created.
Theses statistics only cover the most popular social networking sites however, there are numerous other social networks created for niche markets who can also boast remarkable account numbers and statistical data.
With such a large audience of potential customers using social networks, it is vital for companies and organisations to utilise these networks to help establish their own brand and presence. Social networking can be implemented internally or through external channels, and can provide many benefits for companies. The cost to enter and participate in corporate social networking is minimal, the social network forum is an excellent place to obtain feedback from customers and clients, more effective leadership can be developed, there is more efficient access to expertise and resources, easier lead generation, and social networking use promotes more honest and open relationships with customers.
The 34th International Geological Congress (IGC), an impressive scientific forum run every 4 years by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), have set several key objectives and specific goals for their next conference which is scheduled for August, 2012.
Some of the key objectives and specific goals of the 34th IGC, as listed in their Strategic Communication and Outreach Plan include:
– Increase IUGS membership and IGC participation
– Disseminate information on the geological sciences
– Facilitate international and interdisciplinary cooperation
Also listed, and noted as a particularly broad yet important objective, is for an increased visibility of the geological sciences. This objective includes an increased awareness of geosciences amongst younger people, additional delegates to attend the conference, government and non government awareness, corporate awareness, financial investment and increased numbers choosing earth sciences as career path.
With only 300 days to go until the conference begins, hosts of the 2012 conference, the Australian Geoscience Council (AGC), must establish a successful and meaningful online presence to market and promote the event and to reach the objectives and goals of the 34th IGC.
There are a couple of essential elements and strategies which the 34th IGC should follow to ensure the success of their online brand:
Establish social networking goals: Corporate social networking should be implemented and utilised for business goals, and these goals should be established early. Examples of such goals are to increase the potential customer base, to enhance the image of the company’s brand or to save costs on advertising. When American automotive giant, General Motors, developed their social networking presence, their social media directory Christopher Barger ensured to list the following objectives in their social media policy:
A. Become more responsive to people/consumer audiences
B. Incorporate audience/consumer feedback into your organization more quickly and effectively than has happened traditionally
C. Make your brand a little more “human” to the outside world, and show people the smarts, personality and passion of the people behind your logo
D. Increase awareness of the strength of your current product lineup, and provide perspective/accurate information about your company
Choose which social networking sites best represent the established goals: Potential social networking platforms should be evaluated against the established goals. For instance, MySpace is a popular site for upcoming musicians, and a talent agency would make better use of the active users in this social space.
The 34th IGC have endeavoured to connect with geologists worldwide and to increase awareness and membership of the IUGS, and their online presence should be represented by social networks which have an audience of geologists. Although there does not appear to be any active established geological science social networks, (a twitter account for the user Geology Network was once active and promised ‘dedicated social networking for geologists’, however the linked domain is now inactive and available for purchase), however there are numerous sites dedicated to all scientific fields, such as Scitable. There is also a geologist network currently established on LinkedIn which would assist the 34th IGC in reaching their objectives.
By considering the company goals and target audience, more success will be gained by the use of corporate social networking. As quoted by Brian Solis, the Principal Director of FutureWorks, “Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology”.
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