It seems like online social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the new hot thing these days. Whether or not you participate in them, you can be sure that the younger generations are. This raises some important questions:
- How do these new media change marketing? How will their growth affect the effectiveness of traditional sales and marketing strategies? What strategies are most effective for promoting your products among social network users?
- How do social networks affect business strategies? Where do they represent new opportunities, and where do they present new competitive challenges?
So I was intrigued to attend the recent SoCon09 Social Networking Conference at Kennesaw State University, earlier this month. I met some very interesting folks and heard a lot about how social networks are changing traditional media, advertising, marketing and brand-building. There’s a lot going on, and some of it is going to change the world in ways you might not expect:
- These networks are growing fast. Twitter was founded in May 2007 and now has over 4 million active users. Facebook had over 200 million unique visitors last year.
- Who is on these networks may surprise you. Last year, the 35-54 year old age group was the fastest growing demographic on Facebook.
- People are using these media for making buying decisions. For example, Dell has over $1 million in sales from Twitter, and many mainstream companies are marketing on Facebook and MySpace.
- Old promotional and advertising models are dwindling in power as traditional mass media shrink, go online, or close up shop. The future lies in new media.
- The old ways of advertising and promoting don’t work in the new media. New ways of reaching consumers are needed.
If you aren’t thinking about how to incorporate these new networks in your sales and marketing efforts, you should be. For more thoughts and commentary, see my EarthquakeSurfer blog.