Social networking is key to marketing these days. Marketing online allows businesses to target their brand with the individual.
This direct marketing allows the brand/business to engage with there customers better on a more personal level.
Many tools/websites are out there for brands and businesses to use, although some are more popular than others.
A few of the most popular tools which can be used are Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin. Each of these tools have there own advantages and disadvantages.
Facebook allows users to create a profile where they can upload pictures, connect with friends and update their status. They also have many adverts on the website which businesses can use to promote themselves and even get users to go to a business page which can be created. The business pages can be customised and now businesses are getting people to give information when liking a business page and allowing them to enter competitions and interact more with the brand.
This also makes advertising by a brand much easier and allows them to find out what the user likes and dislikes.
Twitter (www.twitter.com) is a different social marketing tool, and is a microblogging service. The service allows users to update their status by writing a message in no more than 240 characters. Since it was introduced in 2006, the website has over 200 million users as of 2011 and handles around the same amount of messages (Tweets) every day. It is pretty much like an SMS system where you can only type a small message as an update, but this makes reading easier and allows the users to communicate with friends or businesses. The service allows you to follow other people, even celebrities and engage with them or find out what is going on in their life.
A business can create a Twitter account and try to connect with other businesses or users by “following” them. The process is pretty difficult, but if you create interesting content and connect with users then eventually you will get an audience to market your product/business to. Twitter also allows businesses to promote items within the hashtags area on the right of the screen.
Google+ (plus.google.com) sometimes called Google Plus is a service operated by Google. The service was launched this year on June the 28th, but was at the time only an invite only website. The website wanted to try cope with the demand for such a large service, but even with the website being an invite only service, it was suspended on the next day due to demand.
On the 20th of September, Google+ was introduced to the mass market and had a massive increase in users, before a sudden drop.
The good point about Google+ was how it linked well with a users Google account and other services such as Gmail and Google Buzz which has since been closed down.
At the moment in time Google+ isn’t aimed at businesses too much, apart from major brands who are testing the waters with this marketing tool. The business pages will allow businesses to promote themselves to over 800 million users Worldwide using the different tools it offers.
With Google+ I like the use of circles, hangouts which work well and look more interactive. Hangouts allows users to talk using webcams, and it also allows multiple webcam chats which I feel is a great way to do conference calls for businesses. At the moment as I mentioned Google hasn’t officially launched business pages just yet, so for now businesses can’t aim too much at an audience on Google+.
Linkedin (www.linkedin.com) is more of social networking tool for businesses or working professionals. This service is not used as much, as this website is used mainly for networking and finding out about businesses around.
Linkedin reports that it has over 120 million users Worldwide in more than 200 countries. It is easy to create a profile for your business with Linkedin, but this tool isn’t used as widely as the others to gage with the audience.
In the world today there are many social networking sites, including: Myspace, Bebo, Mixi to name a few. They are all useful in there own way and they also work well with Smartphones by having there own apps created for them to make it easier to share content.