There has been so much written about social media lately, it is of little surprise this week that we again find ourselves discussing who’s shaking up the world of social networking. Week after week it feels like the three big players, Twitter, Facebook, and of course now, Google+, are trying to out-do one another. Each wants to reign supreme as the number one social network – especially when it comes to attracting business.
They are also, naturally, trying to expand and grow, and move with the times. So what are they all doing to woo business to interact with their platforms?
Google+ Business Pages
To begin with, let’s look at how Google+ has attracted millions of users, and is currently trialling its business pages. In its short life Google+ has already gained over 20 million users worldwide, and whilst businesses were told to stay away from it as a marketing platform, Google has been working hard to build a business friendly field whereby a company can host a business page in order to then generate further brand awareness and, of course further business. Business pages, such as the one Ford have been lucky enough to secure, are rumoured to have an impact on how well the brand will rank in search – something which will no doubt motivate many businesses to sign up when they are allowed.
“Facebook For Business”
Facebook last week announced the introduction of its “Facebook For Business” site, and, on the face of it, it seems to be a way by which they plan to maintain a presence and influence. This is, somewhat cleverly, aimed at smaller businesses rather than huge brands. The reason I believe this to be a clever move by Facebook is because smaller (especially local) businesses will be more willing to give it a go in order to see if it helps their business grow, whereas large brands may decide to disregard it in favour of more traditional goals such as mass reach and search rankings.
Twitter haven’t exactly been quiet either, recently announcing a tweak to their sponsored tweets to make them simultaneously more prominent for advertisers, but less intrusive to users. Being able to engage a visitor with advertising, without putting them off using the service, is a critical challenge for any social website.
In addition, the update Twitter has announced will put every Twitter user on the same platform, those that are still using an older interface will therefore be forced to upgrade. This can go one of two ways: either those forced to upgrade will dislike the very fact that they didn’t get a choice and thus switch off from Twitter, or they will prefer their new interface and their experience will be enriched.
These are just some of the latest examples of how social networking has clearly become such a key component to modern marketing. Online social media is expected to continue booming for years to come, with some 52% of all internet users expected to have a regular social media presence by 2013. With the increased take-up, and increasing time being spent on social media, advertisers will play a key role in shaping which platforms thrive, and which ones fall away.