Socialmedia Catalyst

Icon

Web Influence

Examples of how social networking sites are accessed through mobile phones:

Facebook
According to Nielsen, Facebook is the No. 7 mobile website in terms of reach. About 15% of Facebook users (11 million) in the U.S. regularly access the social network’s mobile web version (not to mention various downloadable versions and the roughly three million users who use SMS).

Facebook fan pages are just beginning to be supported on the mobile web, and hopefully soon on mobile applications as well. Once they are fully supported, that will open up mobile social-media integration opportunities.

Facebook recently launched a new feature for fan pages that allows users to subscribe via SMS. This is a free service that essentially gives any brand with a Fan Page the ability to send targeted SMS updates to their fan’s mobile phones if they have opted into the service. However, only a few brands have effectively used this new feature, and more work needs to be done to actively engage fans with it by including content that is relevant to mobile users.

Twitter:

Twitter is another great example of the power of mobile and social media working together. According to Nielsen, more than 3 million Twitter users in the U.S. alone regularly access the service via the mobile web. Additionally, many consumers are frequently using Twitter through SMS and a range of downloadable mobile applications for iPhone, BlackBerry and other mobile devices. This makes Twitter an easy and seamless way to drive consumers to mobile content.

If you’re already actively using Twitter for a brand, consider how mobile-friendly your tweets are. Also, if your brand has a mobile site and a Twitter account, then why not invite your mobile users to click over and follow your tweets right then and there? Brands can take advantage of this easy integration point.

YouTube
YouTube is a powerful social network and content site, and by far the most ubiquitous in terms of the number of platforms and devices that it can be accessed from. Even on mobile, there are a number of distinct ways that users can access the full range of mobile content. The native versions of YouTube that come pre-installed on iPhones, Android phones like the G1, and the Palm Pre offer the best mobile user experience. However, the mobile web version is also outstanding, and has well over 4.6 million users that log in many times a month.

Skype: the Un-Social Network:

Skype’s new owners might make it the platform it always should have been.
On the list of technology companies that inspire speculation and interest disproportionate to their size, Skype has often been near the top. The international success of its Internet-calling service was near-instant.

In ebay’s hands, however, Skype never quite achieved its promise. After spending $3.1 billion to buy it, eBay today sold off control to a group of technology investors for $1.9 billion in a deal that values Skype at about $2.75 billion. Not by any means small change but not the outlandish success that was once expected of Skype—and that it could have been.

Eighteen or 24 months ago, if you were asked to name the most important social networking platform, “Skype” would have been a very good, if unexpected, answer. Skype had passed 200 million user accounts way back in early 2007. It had 30 million or so users a day. The total time spent with Skype a year and a half ago was about 10 billion minutes a month already well behind Facebook’s 20 billion but not so far that it could never catch up.

Skype is not, of course, a “social networking” tool as the term is generally used. But it unquestionably involves social interaction. And one advantage that Skype had over social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace was that Skype had persuaded many millions of people to download its software—something very few companies have been able to do.

Today a comparison like this would be completely academic. Measured by the number of users a day or the time they spend with it, Facebook has left Skype far in the dust. And while Zuckerberg’s gutsy decision to turn down Yahoo‘s (YHOO) reported $1 billion bid for Facebook looks brilliant, eBay is happy to have wound up with a smaller loss than most analysts expected.

When eBay bought Skype, the talk was about Skype’s synergies with eBay’s marketplace, and lots of folks thought that eBay’s purchase meant that Skype would transform how eBayers did business. As social networks gained traction, Skype, with its powerful client software and enormous user base, seemed well-positioned to jump into the pool. But Skype didn’t go in this direction. Instead, Skype has chugged along, steadily building its business, but never getting to a big transformative moment.

Social media usage through mobiles:

Mobile phones have become the ubiquitous gadget which is like a shadow with all of us. As techno logy is improving and we are going from 3G to 4G especially in the developed world, mobile are increasingly used for social networking.

Recently, Advertising Age reported on the 400% surge in mobile video uploads to YouTube, attributed to the new iPhone 3GS. Beyond the implications of what that may mean for the value of ad inventory on YouTube, one thing is apparent: There is an inseparable link between social media and mobile devices.

As the capabilities of these devices expand, we can expect that updating social-network sites via mobile will continue to increase and may eventually even surpass the wired web. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook are remarkably dependent on mobile access for the value they provide to their users. Many may also argue that mobile status updates are, by their very nature, timelier, more relevant and potentially more interesting to their readers.

Every major social network offers its users a range of mobile services, from mobile web access to downloadable mobile applications. Although consumers with high-end devices may be the primary users of these mobile services, some social networks also offer a number of SMS-driven features that allow consumers to stay engaged by text, even on low-end mobile phones. This represents a big opportunity for brands to maximize their efforts and move consumers easily between their mobile and social media experiences.

While social media campaigns are becoming more common, we often see that when agencies and brands begin their engagement with social networks, they act as if their entire audience is on a computer — the mobile aspects of social media are frequently neglected. And the reverse can also be said about many brands’ initial mobile marketing efforts: They often neglect to effectively integrate the power of mobile social-media elements (even when these elements already exist) to further engage consumers and fans of the brand.

A new paradigm for Microsoft:

Microsoft wants marketers to see it in a different light — not only as an ad seller but as a smart company full of geeks who can help it solve business problems. And the tech giant is using social media to prove it can do so.

Today Microsoft is taking the wraps off a new platform called Looking Glass, a social-media aggregator and monitoring tool that’s still in “proof of concept” stage, meaning it’s not yet in the market and will be open to a very small group of testers next month.

The idea is to connect social-media-monitoring tools to the rest of a marketer’s organization — customer databases, work orders, customer-service centers and sales data. Looking Glass will pull in a variety of feeds from platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr and work with third-party data sources as well. All of the data collected will connect into Microsoft’s enterprise platforms, such as Outlook and Sharepoint.

Making social media actionable:

What this also means for marketers is how all that social-media information they’re drowning in becomes more actionable.

Here’s how: A marketing manager can get an e-mail alert when there’s a sudden surge of chatter about his or her brand on Twitter or Facebook, along with the sentiment of that chatter and the influence level of those blogging. That information can then be connected to a customer-relationship-management system to decide whether customer service or PR should respond. Or a cable operator’s customer service rep could monitor Twitter for outage reports and send off a repair request straight from the tool. And Looking Glass will hook up to existing customer databases, so a pharmaceutical brand manager would be able to figure out if a person throwing a hissy fit on his blog is an influential doctor or current customer.

Social isn’t a web destination, it’s an attribute and an application on some level. They describe the product as a “bridge between IT and the marketing organization.”

It also logs all activity within the tool so, for example, companies can keep track of who posts to their own Twitter feeds.

Twitter at rescue for micro-bloggers:

Twitter has suddenly become a rage in the social networking world. Starting a blog is easy but putting up a post on it seems difficult. Even more difficult to make sure that people read it and for that it has to be interesting. If you are not a celebrity, it is remotely possible that your every day would be eventful. Then what could you write on your blog. Micro-blogging comes to your rescue. Twitter has helped people in that.

Thus what is that that people use twitter for:

1. Keeping I touch with friends
2. Updating your status message
3. Find news
4. for search
5. for fun

Twitter has helped people be aware of what is happening with the lives of their friends and business colleagues. Celebrities are using it as a PR exercise to make people understand what a celebrity’s life is like.

Twitter is indeed Value-Adding, but not ultimately disruptive

Twitter is similar to the user “Status” features on Facebook. Many features and notifications on Facebook are able to be extended to mobile devices. Even though Status isn’t among that group, it could be. If Facebook were to extend Status to mobile devices it would duplicate the functionality of Twitter within the context of a more robust social networking platform and give it an instant user group of 18 million people.

I bring up Facebook because Twitter faces a wall in the adoption curve between early adopters and the early majority. The appeal of Twitter isn’t disruptive enough to convince mainstream technology users to adopt it. It is limited to the demographic of tech enthusiasts who already use Web 2.0 tools and services.

Twitter’s biggest contribution to the development of social technology will not be its widespread adoption, but rather its demonstration of the value and nuances of persistent presence. The lessons learned from a case study of Twitter can be applied, implemented, observed in other social platforms already in widespread use like Facebook; Myspace etc

The principles of Twitter will surely be absorbed by other platforms.

Social networking widgets:

For those of you who do not completely understand what a widget is, it is essentially independent objects or an object that can be embedded or downloaded onto another site and can be used as a tool, have automatic content updates, or are or can be interactive. Though they go by the name of “widget”, Facebook calls them “applications” and Google calls them “gadgets.”

Widgets represent a large percent of the total audience. MySpace widgets had the widest audience while Slide ranks. Google.com has the sixth widest widget-viewing audience with more than 19 million viewers.

Widget usage can be computed as eyeballs on the site, which also means that if the widget is cool, you can bet others will go to get the widget. The widget is essentially another form of advertising. If they have your widget, that means they came to your site or heard of your widget from someone else. Word of mouth is it!!

Myspace helps people express themselves and tell stories through personalized photos and videos created on Slide and viewed anywhere on the web or desktop.
Slide’s products — including Slideshows, FunWall and SuperPoke! — are popular on top social networking and blog platforms. Slide is also the leading developer on Facebook with more than 84 million applications installed and the most active users than any other developer.

RockYou is a leading provider of applications and widgets on the web. RockYou widgets include photo slideshows, glitter text, customized Facebook applications and voicemail accessories that are simple to use and enable people to frequently refresh their online style. RockYou servs over 180 million widget views per day in more than 200 countries. RockYou applications are customized for easy integration across all social networks including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Tagged and hi5. RockYou’s cost-effective, results-focused advertising platform is the largest Ad Network on Facebook and the most dynamic method for rapidly acquiring Facebook application users. New applications can reach over 100000 users in 24 hours, spanning a suite of applications across multiple publishing partners

Picassa is the most popular site on the Internet for uploading, sharing, linking and finding photos, videos, and graphics.

Look for music, video and image sharing widgets to continue to evolve to an extent that perhaps one day they become part of someone’s v-card or email signature, along with the location of their MySpace, FB or Linkedin pages.

Usage of back links in SEO:

Focusing on the same keyword, this can be an effective internet marketing technique. This is search engine optimization for social networking websites at its best.

This has also become the major source of back-links. It provides a great way to generate back-links for free. It boosts website visibility at search engines, because each new back-link is a new positive point for website. Generally most of the social networking sites provide the facility of creating forums. These forums are great source to get thousands of back-links. The key benefit of creating a forum signature is that- when an individual clicks on a forum that was indexed by the search engines, they will have a direct link to website from forum signature. The more post we make to different topics, the more back-links we will create to our website.

Currently social networking in a broad business sense is the best and most effective way of drawing potential clients and interest to websites. Playing its role in search engine optimization process for any website, it can increase the number of meaningful hits to website. Using this form of social marketing is more effective because it draws customers in a more ethical way. Website promotion through social networking is more like a fun and one won’t have to wait for the result for weeks or months.