New Social Media Networks
Fotolog is a photo blog that has been around since 2002. While it is relatively unknown here in the United States, it is largely known and used in Latin America and Spain. As of right now, the site has over 30 million registered users.
The blog can basically be used as a photo diary; you upload a picture of your day or anything you wish and then accompany it by a description of the story behind the picture, or how it narrows down your day to one image. Other members may comment on your entry by “signing” your “guestbook”. When joining, you may choose a basic free account, or a “Gold Camera” account which allows you to upload up to 6 pictures a day, while free members may only upload one.
It is true that the hype surrounding social media is causing every business out there to feel obliged to join in the race for the most followers and most likes. But, does social media investment really measure up to the hype? There’s much more to it than simply setting up a page and waiting for the followers to arrive. Unless you’re a worldwide-known brand, like Coca-Cola, chances are not many people may be looking for your business. So there comes the cost: you’ve got to not only join the social media world, but advertise your social media page and pay the staff that will manage the campaign as well. The greater your success, the larger the cost.
Below is a handy infographic listing both the benefits and disadvantages of social media campaigns.
According to the chart, there are positives to businesses that have decided to create fan pages on Facebook – a lot of the customers that become Facebook fans are more likely to spend more money on the business’s products or services than a customer who is not a Facebook fan. Facebook fans of McDonald’s page, for example, spend more than double than non-Facebook fans!
But it’s not all good news; a Twitter account with up to 33,000 followers, for example, may invest more monthly in the campaign than what they will be seeing in returns.
Statistics also show that most of the benefits of social media campaigns come in the form of: customer engagement, direct customer communications, speed of feedback, learning customer preferences, low costs, brand building, etc. But, where is the monetary return? Social media works best as a way to get a business’s name and identity exposed enough for the world to see, but it does not guarantee a greater monetary return.
PRO: through social media, a business can learn more about what its customers want to see more of and what kind of interests the consumer may have. A successful social media campaign may convert a person who wasn’t interested in the business before into a new fan. It may also help the customer feel more connected to their favorite brand, and therefore increase loyalty and word of mouth advertisement.
CONS: though social media campaigns may do a great job in getting the business’s name exposed, it does not guarantee any monetary return. In some cases, the costs to maintain the campaign may be higher than the revenue earned from it. The question is, do you want to make the sacrifice and spend the money to get your business loyal fans that will keep up to date with what your business may be working on, or is it simply not worth it?
The 10 Stages of Social Media Integration in Business
If you are a not just another individual on the internet, but the face of a business, these 10 steps will lead you to a successful social media campaign. As a business, this secret recipe is a treasure. But, as an individual constantly bombarded by more than 3,500 advertisements a day begging to suck the money straight out of our wallets, this recipe sounds a bit dangerous. Now businesses know how to successfully infiltrate into our favorite social media sites and continue to persuade us into buying their products or services.
It’s not all bad news, though. If you’re a loyal customer of a certain brand, you might actually find this helpful: by following your favorite brand or shop or service online, you’re constantly up to date with what new products or sales they might be coming out with just as it happens.
So, if businesses joining us in Facebook or Twitter or other social media sites is a good or bad thing, it’s up to the consumer to decide. Do we want to have absolutely no place to escape the constant advertisements? Or do we want to keep up with the things that interest us most? Perhaps a bit of both.
Is Facebook really anywhere even close to the site Mark Zuckerberg had founded less than ten years ago? When first created, Facebook had only one purpose: to keep in touch and get to know the people around us better, specifically our classmates, as the site was exclusive only for certain university campuses. Now, however, everyone with internet access can join Facebook and keep in touch with not only current classmates, but old high school friends, co-workers, and family members as well.
According to research performed by the Michigan State University, Facebook users still use the site for what it was originally intended: to keep in touch with people we already knew. But is that really all Facebook users are doing on the site? Though the number of people using the site to meet new people is low, I have heard too many times couples saying, “Oh, we met through Facebook.” Has the site become more about meeting new people? After all, Facebook is always “suggesting” new friends or people we might know. We might not know them, but we might still send or receive friend requests to friends of friends – people we don’t know directly, but have some sort of connection to. Eventually, that chain leads to other people we have even less of a connection with, but who we might take an interest to.
So, even though Facebook might focus heavily on the “offline” relationships between one person and another, I believe it definitely leads to new online friendships more now than it did before.
Take the movie Catfish, for example. It’s a documentary focused around the relationship a young man built with three women he met through Facebook – a young child with outstanding artistic skills, the beautiful older sister of this child, and the mother of both young ladies. The twist at the end of the film? All three characters were the same person. One was almost completely fictional, another was not the person he had been taught to believe she was, and the last resembled nothing of the photographs and paintings he had seen of her.
A situation like this probably wouldn’t have had the chance to happen during Facebook’s early days, when all the people who were a part of it were relatively close to you geographically and the community was still small. Now, however, Facebook has enough members to become its very own country. So, what are the chances of the people you’re meeting through this site, REALLY being who they say they are? And how much of what people are putting out there is really true? Who’s to say Facebook profiles aren’t a modified version of a person’s real life?
Pinterest as a Social Media Strategy
Pinterest is in ways a lot like other social media networks already out there, but it’s also a new and different – and very fast-growing – form of social media. While other networks such as Facebook or Twitter may be focusing on witty status updates and informing the world of what Bob Smith might be having for lunch, Pinterest takes a more VISUAL approach to sharing information. In many ways, it actually reminds me quite a bit of the only social media network I’m really familiar with, which is Tumblr.
Pinterest seems a little more exclusive, though, as you have to “request an invite” to join the network. I’m not completely sure how this works, but I’m still waiting for my invite.
The idea of sharing thoughts and ideas, or more like tastes, through visual imagery seems to be the main concept of Pinterest. I think this is an interesting way to go about communicating with people; we live in a visual world, after all, and most advertisements nowadays contain as little text as possible – just a word or two will do. People in the 21st century want images, not text, so if you want to share that you like apples, instead of tweeting “I like apples”, you might receive more feedback and interest if you create a pinboard full of nicely-shot and well-lit photographs of red and green apples in baskets, in trees, cut in half, scattered in a salad, etc… As an artist, I find this way of sharing information more appealing and creative.