Business Value & Crowdsourcing

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The last topic.

The weeks have been good, and overall the messages between lessons have been fairly easy and understandable. This week we look at Business Value and Crowdsourcing. Seems like a good way to end our talks of Social Media in business so lets get into it.

The questions discussed within this post is based around businesses, the world economy and how exactly social media effects these things. Crowdsourcing, which is a new word, will also be further explained and hopefully we can understand how it is used by the end of this post. Lastly, we will look at the drivers and inhibitors of using social media for businesses along with how they benefit/setback companies.

Social Media, Business & the Economy

So as we already know, Social Media is a giant place in which many people communicate and share ideas and their lives with each other. It is great for businesses as it creates a rapport with their clients and further promotes their brands all over the world. According to the Market Mogul, “As of August 2015, Facebook had over 1.18 billion monthly active users. Facebook’s global reach facilitates global economic activity – earlier this year Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, declared that“Every day, businesses of all sizes, sectors and skill sets are using the Facebook platform to grow and expand.”” (The Market Mogul, 2016). Their article states the abilities in which Facebook helps companies/businesses by “enabling them to promote their activities, and matching them with the customers who are most likely to be interested in consuming their products and services.” showing that Facebook’s promotional capabilities greatly help the business in question.

Therefore, thousands of businesses that use the tool would greatly benefit from it. On a global scale, that could seriously effect how the world economy is run and fully affected. Facebook has probably one of the biggest effects on the global market and it it shown through the infographic provided my Market Mogul.

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Crowdsourcing…never heard of it

It’s a different term, and relatively new as well. Basically it means, the process of getting work or funding, usually online, from a crowd of people. The word is a combination of the words ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’. The idea is to take work and outsource it to a crowd of workers.

The best example within society today of this is Wikipedia. The fact that anyone from anywhere can edit/add knowledge to posts is something that Wikipedia relies heavily on. The information is usually reliable and accurate, unfortunately it cannot be referenced academically for the same reasons that make it great.

Another use of Crowdsourcing is such sites as Freelancer.com that use people from all over the world to create things that people need or ask for for a price. Crowdsourcing is a valuable tool when using social media as it brings in the ideas of others from anywhere around the world.

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What drives business…what sets them back?

So, throughout the weeks, many things have been discussed and we have mainly always looked at the benefits of using social media for businesses. The fact that anyone can advertise anywhere and promote whatever they like is awesome right? Definitely! Businesses are able to communicate over borders and work together on global scale projects to reach their fullest potential. This creates an amazing place in which customers and other businesses can interact with each other and make decisions based off the market on the fly. So what could really go wrong with this method? Well not much to be honest.

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Customers are the real threat here. Other businesses are competition yes, and do, to a point dictate how you run your business. However, customers are the ones to watch. The fact is, with so much online, and so many overseas businesses overseas, customers can easily find the same or similar products for a greatly reduced price. A new iPhone could cost upwards of $800NZD domestically, whereas with enough research you could find them for as little as $500NZD. The online market is the reason domestic markets fail, only to avoid the big bad GST costs.

With this in mind it should not deter businesses from using the amazing online tools presented. However it should make them aware that customers are looking for cheaper products and awesome deals are the best way to keep them enticed!

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Thanks again for reading all these posts! It has been an absolute pleasure writing these over the weeks! Until text time!

Rez

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Business applications: Social Media – Potential – Opportunities

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Counting down the last few weeks of the course and it is all building up to quite the finale. The topics have been interesting and fairly simple to understand the concepts discussed within. This week we look at Strategies, Policies & Guidelines for Engagement within businesses. The analysis of business applications within social media and their potential to build relationships and/or generate new opportunities as well as facilitate processes.

To look at these aspects 3 questions are asked:

  • How could we define a social media & social business strategy? How are they different?
  • What are the elements of a social business strategy?
  • What are the success factors of a social business strategy?

Social Media Strategy

Let’s start with the basics…it’s easy to see why people jump on the bandwagon of Social Media and why so many businesses believe they can profit easily from these tools. In reality however, a simple post won’t necessarily bring traffic. Social media must be seen as a tool of sorts, a way to market your brand while also interacting with other people, customers and other businesses. It takes dedication and time, a lot of time.

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Consistency….

Consistency is one of the most important and usually left out of most strategies. It boils down to time and effort. The effort you put in, is what you get out. If goals are executed the same way over a length of time the results will certainly show for it.

Get an idea?

Not the idea that sparks something inside you to create. No, the idea of what you are promoting. The 5 W’s -Who, What, When, Where, Why?

So who is YOUR target audience? The average grandparent is not on Instagram…

Demographics are a key in figuring out WHO you are marketing to. These could include but are not limited to factors such as;

  • location
  • age
  • gender
  • income
  • education level
  • religion
  • ethnicity
  • marital status
  • number of children

Finding these things out about your audience is vital when knowing what to post and how to word it. It takes time to build a strong foundation along with trying to build relationships, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

“But what if i can’t find these things out because my audience is not that many?”

Simple, find a similar site/blog/page anything. The more similar the better, try figuring out their audience and demographic so as to cater to your audience. Again consistency is key here.

Get in their heads

Yes, most businesses fail because they fail to see things from a customers point of view. A good way to find out is through Psychographics. They tell you WHY…the true understanding of a customer is to know their basic outlook on life, thus catering to their wants and/or needs. Psychographs show us;

  • Why do they want to learn about [your niche]?
  • How important is [your niche] to them? (i.e., is it a hobby or part of their job?)
  • How do they like to learn? (e.g., video, text, audio, etc., and on what type of device)
  • What common questions do they have about [your niche]?
  • How knowledgeable are they about [your niche]?

The reason most businesses skip this step is simply because they are lazy. There’s no magic website that will tell you what your audience wants. The only way to find out is through scanning comments, reading feedback, listening, observing…there is no easy way to do it but once it’s done it needs to keep happening.

Choose YOUR path….

Yes, choose the way that suits your business. The channel of medium that you choose to promote your business should be the one with the most traffic of course. The quality over quantity method works here. Choose networks that are easy to use and manage, 2-3 at most. Thus, all efforts are put into making these great rather than trying to spread everywhere. This will revert back to step one of demographics and you will need to know your audience.

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So choose wisely….

It’s all about the content after all…

Yes, well that’s exactly what this all boils down to right? The content shared and used to promote. Make sure these are heavily loaded with useful information but without the boring drapes hung all over it. Content should be made to a level that creates an emotion within the reader and therefore sparks their interest.

Social Business Strategy…

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Li and Solis (2013) show a great understanding of what Social Business Strategy is. There 7 Steps is simple to follow.

  • Set Goals
  • Establish a long-term vision
  • Get support from top levels of management
  • Define a strategy
  • Establish guidelines
  • Secure Staff, Funding and Resources
  • Invest

1.  Define the overall business goals. 

You can’t adjust your social procedure to your business destinations on the off chance that you don’t realize what your targets are.

2. Establish the long-term vision. 

In case you’re not endeavoring toward the final objective, you’re liable to veer off the way. On the off chance that you need your group to completely put resources into your social methodology — and you require the backing of your whole group – you’ll have to discuss your vision with clarity and energy.

3. Ensure executive support. 

In the good ‘ol days you might have the capacity to fly under the radar, yet sooner or later, on the off chance that you need to genuinely affect the business, you’ll require the sponsorship and backing of key administrators.

4. Define the strategy roadmap. 

You already know your business objectives and have a clear vision. But how are you going to get there? Plan out your route, what roads you’ll travel, and what roads you’ll avoid.

5. Establish governance and guidelines. 

Who is in charge of executing the social system? What’s your procedure of listening and reacting to your clients? On the off chance that you unmistakably characterize this procedure and afterwards stick to it, you’ll spend less tie drifting along all through the social circle and additional time strategizing your social development.

6. Secure staff, resources, and funding. 

In the early stages of social growth, you might outsource your social media campaign to an agency, and that’s fine. But you should also be looking down the road and planning to develop internal resources to take your company to the next level as your social prowess — and your business — grows.

7. Invest in technology platforms that evolve. 

Resist the temptation to jump on the latest technology bandwagon before you have a long-term strategic plan in place. Hold off on making significant technology investments until you’re equipped with a sound vision and strategic plan.

Success?

Well as discussed these methods are different, however if they were to be combined success would be easily gained and maintained.

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The NBA…A Business first organisation

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The NBA (National Basketball Association) is full of excitement, talent, drama and sportsmanship. The league is preparing itself for the future and the driving force of social media is definitely the biggest factor in bringing new fans to the organisation. From merchandise to television the NBA has it covered and with the brand being recognised over the globe it is in a perfect position to burst onto the scene as a leader in sports offerings.

The NBA is obviously a niche market, being a sport, requiring the people connecting with them to actually like the sport of basketball. The game of basketball is ever changing and therefore with this change, the way it is marketed must evolve as well. The NBA has 4 major Social Media platforms in which they use to market their brand and they do so effectively. These include FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The main target audience is primarily newer generation audiences aged 18-30 as they are more likely to be paying to watch the sport and for the merchandise. The NBA has recognised the amount in which people within this age group interact online and have taken full advantage.

Where Amazing Happens.

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The simple slogan that embodies the culture of the NBA seems to make you want to watch the game just to see what happens. FaceBook in recent years has seen a dramatic overhaul as to how companies use it to promote. “Likes” and “Fans” have become a popular thing and the implementation of using these to their advantage has been well done. The use of concepts regarding the 4 C’s such as Connection and Communication are the NBA’s primary uses.

FaceBook has seen an increase since 2012 from number of followers, from 14.47 million to 29.11 million, which is close to a 100% increase in number. Doing so they have shown great Twitter numbers as well. With a massive jump from 5.96 million followers to  20.26 million within the same period according to  Statista.

According to the NBA website:

“The NBA had a record breaking year on social media, adding 240 million new fans since the end of the 2013-14 regular season – a 40% increase and largest single-year total. Overall, the NBA now has more than 811 million likes and followers combined across all league, team and player social platforms.

The record year on social media for the NBA resulted in more than 31 billion impressions, up 130% over the previous season with record growth on NBA social platforms.”

They use constant connection to stay up to date with what is trending within the league and what makes good media. The stories of players and the success and failures of teams are what make this business exciting. Players become popular and their jerseys sell for a rough price of about $120 NZD, make that worldwide and jersey sales account for around 5-10% of total income for the NBA. This creates a sense of need from others who feel the need to represent their own teams or players therefore they are advertising without even doing anything.

The NBA’s Instagram is also effectively used to promote their products, games and brand.

Ink361 – has all the stats regarding their Instagram which has about 15.26 million followers connected to it. They are always communicating through Instagram and show a high amount of usage this time of year through the playoffs.

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What are they really trying to promote?

So what exactly are they selling though? I mean it is on television? It’s just a sport right?

Not exactly. The NBA has a paid subscription service to dedicated users where they are really trying to make their money. League Pass is a goldmine and creates a feeling of being up to date, to the last second. For the price of $49NZD per month anyone can subscribe for the Premium service. There’s also a yearly option at $499NZD. However these are not the only packages available. The NBA have made it affordable enough for anyone, $29NZD per month gives you access to a specified team of your choice. Or $199NZD per year. So with this in mind how do they use the SOCIAL Approach to help promote their business?

Cisco’s SOCIAL Approach is used in a multiple of ways, the last part being OCIAL being the dominant aspects.

O – Openess, The NBA is lead by Adam Silver who is the commissioner, and he decides what happens within the league. Any sort of rule change, to salary caps are ultimately signed off by the big boss. And he does a swell job keeping everyone happy.

C – Consistency. If there’s one word to describe the way the NBA approaches social media it is consistency. They post of the best plays of the day, the best players, the bloopers of the week. Constantly. It seems overwhelming to think of, however, after careful analysis, it is clear that the NBA does have favourites. Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant are just some players the NBA constantly has something to say about. Their posts are daily during the season and their app is constant and easy to use as well.

I – Intuitive. The websites that the NBA have such as The nbastore are easy to use and have dedicated sections to each team for easily finding the exact item you want. The app, designed for iOS and Android are well put together and incorporate all things NBA. The app however does not have a shop functionality yet. Within the app, one can navigate through videos, see the news around the league and even watch live games anywhere around the world.

A – Active. Activity leads to buzz, and a lot of chatter. The NBA is good at this. People comment every second on their posts as to who their favourites are and are very opinionated. The media frenzy the NBA creates through Facebook posts and Twitter generate millions of views daily and rack up a lot of attention. Activity within their numerous Social Media accounts is definitely a strong suit.

L – Limitless…now limitless is something debatable. One could argue that there are a million outcomes within any time during the NBA season and that makes it hard for the NBA PR team. However, marketing such an organisation is something that takes time and being able to adjust on the fly is what they do best. Being able to create content of a game that finished within minutes is something to witness. Artworks, posters, pictures with major stats all colourful and presented in team colourways arre only some of the ways the NBA adapts to situations presented to them and they do it in minutes!

I’d say they’ve hit a Game 7 buzzer beater!

Communities, CoP’s, and everything in-between…

So this week has been quite interesting. We look at Communities, Communities of practice, how these relate to business and what exactly all of these are. What the differences between online communities and communities of practice are, their characteristics and how they help businesses through understanding of these concepts.

Without further dawdling….let’s press on

 

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What is the difference between ‘online communities’ and ‘communities of practice’?

The basic definition of Communities of Practice (CoP) are, groups of people who share a concern or passion for something they do & learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. An ‘Online Community’ could be describes as a group of people who interact via Internet Web sites, chat rooms, newsgroups, email, discussion boards or forums with similar interests.

So through these definitions, the differences seem clearer, however, to be certain clarification on both these terms are needed.

CoP’s involve 3 main components; Domain, Community and Practice. Firstly, a CoP has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership implies a commitment to the domain and furthermore shared competence distinguishes members from non members. On top of this, these members value their collective knowledge and competence and learn from each other.

The community aspect is regarding the members involved. It is the pursuit of similar interests in relation to the domain. Members engage in joint activities and discussions where information is shared and explained through various methods. The community also cares for each other as they highly value the information that each member brings to the community. Interaction between members is what drives the community and therefore it cannot be a Community of Practice unless members interact with one another.

Practice makes perfect. The saying rings true in regards to CoP’s. The most valuable asset in any situation is time. Time spent together with sustained interaction is what makes a CoP so effective. The continual sharing base of knowledge and information within the workforce is what makes practice important.

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As for Online communities….

Online communities are groups within the WWW that create communities of similar interests but are not expected to share knowledge with one another. Tumblr., Reddit and DeviantArt and even Instagram are such communities. The knowledge of one member does not necessarily get passed on to other members within the community. This could be for a number of reasons such as conflicting interests, creativity or lack of motivation. Online communities however, have fundamentally changed the way companies listen to their customers. These communities can be run like a utility – when you come to work in the morning, you turn on the heat, the lights, and the voice of the customer. It’s always there for you, whenever you need it. The always on characteristic is what makes online communities special in their own respective way.

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What are the characteristics of CoP’s and their relevance to business strategy?

The characteristics of CoP’s are that of shared knowledge and information. In business the use of the strategy is advised. Businesses use these methods as a way for staff to interact with each other ultimately leading to knowledge being passed around therefore making the entire unit better functioning. This however can only work if all these staff members share the interests and want to pursue the goals set by the domain. Hospitals use this tool heavily as nurses and doctors talk to each other about patients when not working such as lunches or dinners and therefore learn from each other. It seems as though there is no direct way of implementing the system however, and that co=workers have to set out a way to communicate with each other in a way that is effective.

In recent years, the internet has taken over much of the knowledge base. The communication within workforces have decreased and the amount of questions has as well. Therefore the use of CoP’s are limited.

What are the benefits and limitations of online communities and COPs to businesses?

Lets start with limitations.

As said before, questions are being reduced within the workforce as a lot of these ‘answers’ could be Googled. Knowledge is being shared through online channels rather than face to face. The use of online communities could have its limitations as well as today everything people want is instant. Being always on could result in more people wanting to know things at business closing times and therefore sales could take a plummet. CoP’s cannot always share knowledge and sometimes others do not want to learn from each other making it difficult to create a solid CoP to begin with.

On the other hand, CoP’s create a wealth of knowledge to those who seek each other out and have similar interests. Online communities although tricky, if done correctly the rewards could benefit a company immensely.

That’s all this week. Look for the next post as it will be on an actual company and its practices….

The 4 C’s & The S.O.C.I.A.L Approach

 

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This week has been full on, the amount of work involved is starting to build and the challenge of presenting a worthy entry seems to be the biggest challenge. This week we look at a more interesting aspect of social media. The 4 C’s – Connection, Collaboration, Communication and Cooperation all have something to do with social media, how everything and everyone interacts with technology and the world around them. Lastly, Cisco’s S.O.C.I.A.L approach when looking at social media will be addressed.

The 4 C’s in Social Media

Connection – Connection is a main factor in social media. One could argue that it is the backbone of Social Media. Connection drives human interactions, the needs to interact with one another and the feeling of belonging is ever present today. Businesses use connections to connect with each other along with gaining new customers and interacting with existing ones.

Cooperation – Sharing. Similar to collaboration in a way that people work together.

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Collaboration – Working together. Multiple ways collaboration works is through Social Media today. Businesses are able to adapt and work together with customers in order to create products and services for the future. An example of collaboration is Wikipedia where everyone can contribute on subjects and therefore different knowledge is applied.

Communication – Simply put it is how everyone communicates with one another through, talking, txt, phone, email, instant messaging and various other methods. Communication has gone through multiple phases over time. Informality, recently has become a prime characteristic of social media and therefore has become part of the communication criteria.

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Cisco’s SOCIAL Approach

S – Scalable – Train and empower employees

O – Open – Lead from the top

C – Consistent – Show commitment, “always on”

I – Intuitive – Make it easy to connect/navigate

A – Active – Create and share content to trigger conversations

L – Limitless – Be flexible

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From the readings during this week the SOCIAL approach from Cisco is intriguing. The simple definitions of each are as above. Scalable – A businesses needs for trained employees is a must, this not only helps the business, but the employee as well. When trained, an employee plays a vital role in contributing the success to a company. Being able to up skill and create better opportunities is what is meant by this aspect of the SOCIAL approach.

Open….Leading from example. It all starts at the top of management. Owners, CEO’s, Managers and such all have methods in which they lead their respective businesses. The way leadership is executed is what counts. Leadership can only be shown and done with employees rather than by commands as people in today’s working society feel equal on a personal level.

Consistency is always key. The term ‘always on’ could mean a number of ways. Social media being always online and always active is an extremely useful tool when wanting to communicate with customers. Businesses can contribute more through finding out from their customers than they can searching for it. An example of being always on is McDonald’s 24hour services. Facebook has increasingly become a way in which businesses are able to be always on as well.

Intuition is something that is hard to learn but if you have the skill works wonders. Knowing what your customer likes and dislikes is key to success in Social Media. The way your business interacts and the ease of use is top priority to many customers and can be a deciding factor on whether consumers stay or leave.

Active…creating content and sharing….Twitter, YouTube and Facebook do this well. Companies use these sites as amazing tools to gauge what their customers think and easily can create a community within their organization of what customers want most.

Limitless….the word is easy to say but putting the flexibility into a business is a lot harder than most things as many companies are old and feel that their current practice is the best. Flexibility is a key to successful operation!

 

That was this weeks post. Till Next time!

 

 

Is there a Risk to Adopting Social Media in The Workplace?

Social Media and the Workplace….

Those two things seem to be far from each other, sounds like a managers worst nightmare. However, in reality what are the risks of adopting Social Media in the workplace? In recent times with Social Media applications on the rise and the advances of the new generation in the workforce it is seen as something to be used daily. The mindset that communication involves door-to-door sales or phone calls or sending out flyers are well in the past. The costs of flyers verses an ad on FaceBook speaks for itself and the potential to reach millions of people at the same time make Social Media a serious consideration  for the workplace.

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There must be risks though right? Well to be fair, the simplest answer is “Yes”, of course there are risks regarding Social Media, its open and public! That’s why it is “Social”. So as a business moves forward and adopts social media concepts within its business policies what do they need to address in terms of challenges and issues regarding the use of Social Media. Why is social capital and trust important? Is there a negative spin on using Social Media, how are these obstacles overcome? Does culture play a role in the implementation and the adoption of Social Media in the working environment? Well, this posts discussion will address these concerns and finalise with my own question as always.

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Let’s start off with challenges….

  • Distraction
  • Privacy
  • Content
  • Executive Resistance
  • Culture

Okay so, knowing what Social Media is, is important when defining how it should be used. The list of distractions are linked through Management within a company, as a manager it is clear that they would see social media as a distraction, workers spend more time on Facebook than they actually spend doing work which is the usual interpretation. Then there’s the privacy issue, how can a company keep its secrets and internal affairs private if it has staff that are constantly on social media? What about content? NSFW (Not Safe For Work) is seen around Social Media quite a bit. There are always ways to prevent these from being accessed through a companies computer. Culture, what is culture? How can culture affect Social Media?

So these challenges seem all to lead back to Management. Executive Resistance. Fears of productivity lead to management shying away from the idea of adopting Social Media.

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According to Christine Eberle, these “risks” that companies see are there however can easily be mitigated. She suggests that companies have “Corporate Rules” so as to make sure that the use of social media is within the company or businesses best interest. The value that the younger Millennial generation place on trust is high and therefore she believe that trust is in important issue. The difficulty is incorporating older staff members to use social media as well by encouraging the use, the company will see increases in productivity along with growth through social media networks. It also allows a new way of thinking within the company itself as the company opens up to new ideas and newer strategies for marketing their products and/or services.

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Being culturally sensitive is another issue in which companies need to address seriously. The culture of people in regards to the companies culture. With the rise of social media, the cross cultural communication between people have become widespread and quite popular. In any company or place of work, many employees are diverse in background and knowing this is important when dealing with people from a different culture to your own. This also applies to customers as knowing how they would respond to you is a way to show you understand them as your customers.

Okay, so concluding this post it is important to recognise that there are always risks involved when adopting social media, however if implemented right it can really make a difference in the company!

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Government Knowledge – Social or Anti-Social?

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The Big Bad Government! The words “Trust” and “Belief” are thrown around as if they mean something in today’s government systems and hierarchy’s. It seems as though the more someone says “Trust me” the less you can or should. The government of the world is known for its wealth of knowledge and the secrecy that goes along with having all this knowledge. Society in general can receive a wealth of knowledge at the click of a button, however, is the knowledge we seek within our grasp and if so, how would social networks boost the spreading of this knowledge.

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Today’s post will be shorter than usual, but loaded with content, attention to detail is key here. The following questions will be addressed:

  • What are the drivers & inhibitors of social media being implemented and adopted within the government?
  • What similarities and differences are there between the private sector and government sector when it comes to social media implementation?

See, short but broad…

With the rise of social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the amount of public knowledge shared by the governments of the world and through public leaks have seen a dramatic increase. The knowledge shared by governments to the public aka “Public Sharing” is mostly regulated so that limited information gets passed through. This could be for a number of unspoken reasons.

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According to a Parliament Research Paper done in New Zealand;

  • – The majority of New Zealand members of Parliament (MPs) have at least one online social media account on the most popular online social media sites used by New Zealanders.
  • – Online social media influenced the 2008 New Zealand General Election campaign, and is likely to impact more upon future election campaigns.
  • – Online social media can facilitate better engagement and communication between MPs and the general public.

These general statements could show what drives the government to pursue social media as a way to gain interest to a certain political party. People with the same views and ideologies can connect with MP’s on a meaningful level and therefore be more open to the public. This leads to “transparency” – meaning that the government is more open about knowledge and sharing that knowledge with the public.

Governments such as this use social media as a tool to gain trust with their citizens. This being the main engine that drives adoption of social media use. It keeps the government honest, by making things public you can’t change your mind once its out in the open. Citizens also feel as though they have a right to know things within today’s need-to-know society. That however could lead to blockages of information.

Information as always can be transmitted the wrong way, misinformed people informing others could lead to a whole group being misinformed. Being the way that words can be interpreted it would be a smart for governments to approach social media with caution as no matter what you say on the internet it would always offend someone, especially nowadays.

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Similarities – If you look at previous posts on businesses it is clear that trust is a major factor in obtaining loyalty from customers, it is the biggest contributor towards success. Within business and the government alike. The way that both use social media is familiar in a way as they both need to communicate with people in order to engage them and produce some sort of response. The ways in which they do this might be different however but the methodology is the same.

Differences – Now, it should be noted that one cannot run a country like a business and vice versa, therefore there has to be a difference in their respective approach to the use of social technology. A business cannot divulge all its secrets or be fully transparent as there would always be practices that shouldn’t be shared or employee information that cannot be shared unless authority is given. This means that businesses have an easier time dealing with social media and what practices are right and wrong and the boundaries are quite clear. Unfortunately for governments the opposite is true. Citizens have a need-to-know attitude and this makes it harder on the government to keep everything under wraps. Leaks and such by groups such as “Anonymys” – a hacktivist group known to scrutinize the governments every move and make these actions known to the public.

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To leave today, as always a question…

If you could ask your government any question they had to answer honestly, what would you ask?

The Big Question: What can Social Media do for Business?

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Now, this post could be called “The Main Event” or something alike. The whole paper is based around what Social Media can do for Businesses. A concept that many businesses feel they need to adapt to. The change and shift in focus through social media channels is inevitable and therefore all options have to be considered when jumping aboard the massive ship that social media is in society today.

In order to experience what Social Media can do for a business however, their are precautionary steps involved when making that final one. Moving on, today’s post will discuss how small businesses and non profit organizations could use social media as a tool, how their use of it would differ to larger companies. Lastly it will look at the difference between the traditional use of Social Media and the contrast of Mobile Social Media along with the massive risks involved.

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It is commonly known that social media in today is something that many cannot live without. The latest FaceBook update, the newest “Tweet” by their favourite celebrity, the trendiest photo on Instagram, it’s a mouthful, handful, earful and it is here to stay. With everyone being so “connected” businesses look to take advantage of these avenues and rightly so. With larger companies established it seems like the best thing to do for smaller businesses to follow suit. However, it seems as though small businesses are slower to the table than it seems. According to Bakeman and Hanson (2012) Small businesses have been less inclined to adopt social media as the cost of maintaining these methods seem to be more expensive. However, they argue that this is the unfortunate situation of inexperience and lack of understanding within the older business owners. Many smaller business believe that by simply setting up a web page or creating a Facebook page that their sales will rise automatically. Unfortunately if it were that simple, everyone using social media would be rich.

The problem businesses face when approaching social media is that they think of it as a simple application that entails little to no effort. This is not the case, the tool can only be used well if it is put into the right hands. The time that is dedicated is an important factor as most small firms are not willing to dedicate staff members to this particular area of marketing their brand. Casserly (2013) from Forbes suggests that to be able to reach the masses and also dedicate time to social media a business should think to use a younger generation such as “your son or daughter” if you are the business owner or employees that are up to date with the latest technology. University students studying in fields such as Marketing, Communications and Information Technology are healthy assets to a small business if they are part time employees. This could be due to the fact that we spend most of the time online and most of the younger generation feel a “need” for connection and attention. According to Manta, their studies show exactly how many businesses use social media along with the importance of networking through these channels.

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Manta’s info graphic explains a range of different aspects of social marketing and networking. The numbers of it all. According to another part of the info graphic, it shows that 90% of businesses use social networks actively while the other 10% have yet to jump on to the idea. Of the 90% however, only 24% dedicate half their network time to online channels. This could lead to the assumption that either these businesses have no idea what to do with social media or that they have limited funds to support their campaigns on these media platforms.

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Another interesting find was that 42% of these small business found that they gained a quarter of their new customers through social channels and that 42% have FaceBook and found it quite a useful tool when finding new customers.

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II

To finish up, the subject of social media and mobile social media take the spotlight. In what ways do mobile driven social applications differ to conventional methods. Kaplan (2012) argues that going mobile is certainly the right way to go. The title of the article “If You love something, Let it go Mobile” speaks for itself. The article outlines the numerous benefits that come with mobile social marketing. This includes, however is not limited to, personalisation, ease-of-use, costs, speed and variety.

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The personalisation aspect is definitely a major positive for companies looking to advertise particular services or products to certain customers.  Speed and cost go hand-in-hand when looking setting up a business for online marketing. “Deals” and “Promotions” can be personalised on the fly and almost instantaneously for most businesses with a good online marketing campaign. Along with this, customer service teams in larger firms are paid to look at complaints, recommendations and respond ASAP to these. Costs are effectively lower as well, and the accessibility of using the technology is relatively easy to explain and understand.

But what are the risks? How could this not lead to a future of brain-dead people fooled by the media influencing their daily lives. These are the concerns following. Today I will leave a video on social media hopefully enlightening how we feel about the technology….

Web Technologies

Back to business in this next piece.

What are “Web Technologies”? How do we define them? The following post will follow up on exactly these questions and hopefully shed some light on the topic.

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To get it right we have to start with the basics. The types of web technologies that there are. In our systems today there are a number of technologies in place such as; Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, and Semantic Web. However, not all these are the same, yet they are all related.

Web 1.0 refers to the first stage in the World Wide Web (WWW), made up entirely of web pages connected through hyperlinks. The basic concept of Web 1.0 technology unfortunately makes it irrelevant to this post as it is believed to refer to the web when it was a set of static sites providing to interactive content.

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Now, for the more interesting part.

Web 2.0.

Web 2.0, the term that was founded in 2004 by Tim O’Rielly, where the technology behind the concept was explained. It is explained as a platform that can be used as an interactive source for end users. It refers to the second generation of the Web itself where everything is user-centered. This indicates a radical shift in the static component of Web 1.0. The services of Web 2.0 focus on social connection, media and information sharing.

Information such as user related content that can be shared and collaborated with other individuals. Sounds a lot like a blog doesn’t it? Or maybe even a shared services site?

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What is certain about the technology of Web 2.0 is that it is flexible. Flexibility is key in such a technology, socially driven industry. The ability to create on the fly and come up with solutions to old problems and update past services to keep up with today’s ever-changing technology. In order to keep Web 2.0 around the framework is very simple and easy to use, making it a reason for its longevity. It is also lightweight, meaning it is easy to use, adopt, create and deliver using a variety of technologies and models.

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Web 3.0

The extended brother if you will. Web 3.0 is basically that. An extension of Web 2.0. Nova Spivack defines it as connective intelligence; connecting data, concepts, applications and ultimately people. Furthermore, while some assume that Semantic Web is basically Web 3.0 Spivack describes it as on of several defining trends that will ultimately define Web 3.0 Technology.

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This technology is able to express a kind of intelligence, incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural language processing and data mining techniques. Understanding of the term “Semantic” is that it is the study of meaning, focusing on relationships between words, symbols, phrases and signs. This indicates that a Semantic Web is one that learns and adapts to the user in a way that seems as though the Web understands the users final goal or what they are trying to say. It goes a long way for businesses to think of using these techniques in order to achieve targets and specified user goals.

Comparisons?

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As the table above shows the differences between the two technologies it is certain that while they are different they do make up of the same principles. They are ever evolving and for that reason will be relevant for a long time to come.

Web 4.0

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  • Web 0.0 – Developping the internet
  • Web 1.0 – The shopping carts & static Web
  • Web 2.0 – The writing and participating Web
  • Web 3.0 – The semantic executing Web
  • Web 4.0 – Open, Linked & Symbiotic Web
  • Web 5.0 – ???

Web 4.0. Hypothetically has not been developed however it has been thought of. The subject matter touches on Sci-Fi at this point in time however, with advancements in technology we see today it is plausible to assume that these Ultra Intelligent technologies can be developed in the near future.

Can you imagine a screen-less smartphone?

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So to thicken the plot my question this week is what do you think of Web 5.0? What could it be? How could we even comprehend it?

Until next time

Rez

What is Social Media & How is it used in business?

Social-media

Social Media has become a popular topic in today’s society. It entices users around the world with its connectivity. Arguably this making the world a smaller place as communication barriers are taken down rapidly with the advancements in technology. Therefore, this first entry will look at the features of what social media is and the history behind it. The usefulness of using social media as a tool for businesses will also be explored along with what socio-technical theory is. The conclusion of this entry will be open ended on questions.

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Most people today recognize the “Like” symbol and its association with social media juggernaut Facebook. However although it may be in the lead of popularity contests among other networks, Facebook was not the first. The first recognized social media site was Six Degrees which started a long time ago in 1997. The concept of blogging soon after became popular and followed on through websites such as MySpace and BEBO. YouTube was created in 2005 and allowed users to share videos with the world. Facebook and Twitter followed suit in 2006. Today we have a multitude of different ways to communicate through Instagram, Tumblr., Pintrest, Google+ to name a few.

The ways in which they co-exist are what makes them relevant in today’s heavily ego-driven society. Instagram’s photos can be instantly shared to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google+ allowing users to connect with thousands of others at one time. With this in mind it can easily be justified as to why more and more businesses are looking to be on social media and find new ways to promote their ideas to a plethora of consumers.

Businesses use social media as a tool to find new customers along with creating a space to communicate with current customers. According to cjgdigitalmarketing.com, Social media has revolutionised the way businesses interact with clients and possible future consumers. Social media in any form is relatively easy to use and requires little to produce something BIG. Businesses are able to survey customers along with gathering data of what customers want through “likes” and are also able to deal with complaints directly making their brand more reputable.

Socio-technical theory comprises of 2 sub-systems which co-exist to form the organisation. The 2 sub-systems are technical and social. According to Theorizeit.org these systems are described by stating “The technical subsystem comprises the devices, tools and techniques needed to transform inputs into outputs in a way which enhances the economic performance of the organization. The social system comprises the employees (at all levels) and the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and needs they bring to the work environment as well as the reward system and authority structures that exist in the organization.” This ties in well with the idea of businesses using social media to promote their goals through the use of devices along with using people to drive their businesses further.

To conclude, I ask, what social media can do in terms of promotion for a business? How would businesses and social media keep reinventing themselves to keep people interested? How much data is required for these sorts of business tactics.

Until next time.

Rez