Categories
News Social Media Technology

Facebook’s Social Research Experiment

I-need-help1
Facebook are back in the news again, this time for conducting research without the consent of their users. Although maybe that is a false statement, users may well have signed those rights away without realizing too.

All Facebook did was to “deprioritizing a small percentage of content in News Feed (based on whether there was an emotional word in the post) for a group of people (about 0.04% of users, or 1 in 2500) for a short period (one week, in early 2012). Nobody’s posts were “hidden,” they just didn’t show up on some loads of Feed. Those posts were always visible on friends’ timelines, and could have shown up on subsequent News Feed loads”. This is the explanation offered by the author of the report about the experiment. Read the full text here.

Simply speaking they wanted to adjust the type of information a user was exposed to to see if it effected their mood. So if a user receives lots of positive news, what will happen to them? What will they post about?

Some studies have suggested that lots of Facebook use tends to lead to people feeling bad about themselves. The logic is simple, all my friends post about how great their lives are and about the good side we might say. I who have a life that has both ups and downs are not exposed to the downs, so I feel that I am inadequate.

This sounds reasonable. I am not a Facebook user but the odd messages I get are rarely about arguing with partners, tax problems, getting locked out of the house, flat tyres, missed meetings or parking tickets. I presume Facebook users do not suffer from these issues, they always seem to be smiling.

So in order to test the hypothesis a little manipulation of the news feed. More positive or more negative words, and then look to see how the posts are effected. The theory above does not seem to hold water as a statistic however, although bearing in mind the methodology etc (and the conductor) I take the claims with a pinch of salt. More positive words tend to lead to more positive posts in response.

Hardly rocket science we might say.

I have a degree in sociology, an MA in Applied Social research and work in the field. Conducting experiments of this type is not allowed in professional circles, it is considered unethical, there is no informed consent, rights are infringed upon and the list goes on. What if somebody did something serious during the experiment?

Of course “The reason we did this research is because we care about the emotional impact of Facebook and the people that use our product”.

If readers are interested in looking at a few other fun experiments that might be considered ethically dubious I can offer a few. Check out the Stanley Milgram experiment, where people administered (False) electric shocks to other people who got the answers to their questions wrong. Yale University here, not a fringe department of Psychology. Researchers were investigating reactions to authority, and the results are very interesting, but you couldn’t do it today.

Or how about the so-called Monster study. The Monster Study was a stuttering experiment on 22 orphan children in Davenport, Iowa, in 1939 conducted by Wendell Johnson at the University of Iowa. After placing the children in control and experimental groups, Research Assistant Mary Tudor gave positive speech therapy to half of the children, praising the fluency of their speech, and negative speech therapy to the other half, belittling the children for every speech imperfection and telling them they were stutterers. Many of the normal speaking orphan children who received negative therapy in the experiment suffered negative psychological effects and some retained speech problems during the course of their life. The University of Iowa publicly apologized for the Monster Study in 2001.

Terrible as these experiments may sound, they were conducted in the name of science. Their results may have proved useful. Facebopok (along with 23andME and other commercial entities) are behaving in the way they are because they want to make more money, their interest is solely there (even if they dress it up as better user experience). And in the case of Facebook they have access to 1.3 billion users, and mandate to do whatever they like with them.

Categories
Business Social Media

Getting Started With Social Media

When trying to promote your business on social media websites, there are a few basic tips that should always be followed. Using these tips will allow for a smooth entry into the world of social media, and make your efforts more successful. In this article, we will discuss those basics and help you to develop a “getting started” plan for your social media efforts. Read on to learn more.

Social MediaWhatever your choice is for social media marketing, make sure that you use correct grammar. Meanwhile it is tempting to use abbreviations such as LOL or LMAO, remember that you are trying to come across as a professional who knows a lot about his or her company. Do your best to spell everything correctly and use punctuation where it is needed.

Network With Others

Try to collaborate with other people and companies when using social media. When they link to your content or share your content, you are being exposed to a brand new group of fans and followers. Return the favor and link to their content as well. The more people who link to your content and social media posts, the better off you are.

To make sure your social media page appeals to your target audience, research books, magazines, and other things you believe they’d enjoy. Try to match the tone of the content you see in your research, and incorporate popular phrases. Doing this will help your target market to trust you and will make them interested in what you have to say.

Understand that technology is driving social media and vice versa. Every day that social media becomes more popular, technology races to catch up, which prompts social media to become more popular. Know what the technology is offering your customers in their social needs so that you can take part in talking WITH them, as opposed to talking AT them.

Never spam when posting on social media. Posting spam is the quickest way to lose followers and damage you and you companies reputation. Spam posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites make any legitimate marketing difficult. If your posts are just a few words and a link to a product, you are posting spam. Give relevant content or reviews along with any links you post. The holidays may be a big time of the year, but don’t use the opportunity in the wrong way. It isn’t the best phase to test out new theories or gamble with a big risk. Stick to your proven guns and utilize them in a more customer-friendly manner. You will have all year to plan out a strategy for the next holiday season.

Use Local Media Sites

To successfully market your business on social media, you should take advantage of Yelp. Yelp is an online community where real people review local businesses. Yelp carefully filters its reviews to protect against scammers, and the Yelp community of reviewers is very close-knit. Positive reviews on yelp can bring your business legitimacy and help attract new customers. Make sure to monitor yelp for people’s ideas and suggestions about how to improve your business and help yourself achieve the best rating possible on the website. You also may want to look for outside help utilizing best SEO companies recommendations.

Find The Influencers

Find some influential bloggers that are out there in your niche and offer to be a guest poster on their blog. This would then allow you to have a link back to your blog. It may also attract people to follow you on the various social media sites that you are on.

You can get your followers’ attention by posting something in a format that makes reading easier. For instance, try coming with a list of top 10 tips or writing questions and answers. The visual aspect of your article will make it more appealing and your readers will be more likely to share it.

Develop quality content targeted for social media. If you are just haphazardly flinging words, advertising or any number of mundane snippets at your customers, then you are wasting your time and losing their business. Be as concerned about your social content offerings as you are for the content on your business site.

The world of social media offers tremendous advertising potential, with huge numbers of users being added every day. Every business wants to take advantage of this platform, including yours. Getting your business marketing efforts started the right way will increase your social media following, and increase profits too. In this article, we have provided some basic information which, when implemented correctly, can make your marketing plan a successful one.

Categories
Charity Media News Social Media

The power of the social networks and the media

Many people take a very negative view of the media. In the UK, there has recently been a press standards enquiry, which looked into the unethical practices some media organisations (specifically newspapers) were using.

Many people also take a negative view of social networks. Twitter has been in the firing line a lot lately, helping to break super injunctions and spread rumours at amazing speed.

I think sometimes we forget that the press and social media can also be a force for good, and so in this article I am going to talk about something positive that only happened thanks to the power of the media and social networks.

The Story

Martha Payne is a nine-year-old girl from Argyll and Bute, (Scotland) who started a blog in May this year called NeverSeconds. On the blog she wrote about her school dinners, under the alias of Veg. She took a camera into school and photographed her school dinner. When she got home, she wrote about it, posted a picture, and then rated each meal.

She gave the food a rating out of ten on her ‘Food-o-meter‘ scale, detailed how many mouthfuls it took her to eat it, what courses it was (i.e. starter and main or main and dessert), how healthy (out of ten) she rated it, the price, and how many pieces of hair she found on it – and yes, one day she did find one!

Martha Payne's first blog
Martha’s first image on her blog – pizza, croquet, sweetcorn and a cake, a meal she rated 6/10 on her food-o-meter

Martha set up a link on her blog to the charity Mary’s Meals, with the aim of raising £7,000 for the charity, through donations from those who read her posts.

All was going well for Martha, until her blog featured in a local newspaper. Here’s what happened in Martha’s words:

“This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.

I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too. I don’t think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either.

Goodbye,
VEG”

So that was it. Martha Payne, a nine-year-old girl who ran a blog with the aim of raising some money for charity, and developing her language skills through writing about her school dinners, was no longer allowed to blog.

It was actually the local council that had told the school to ban Martha from posting, as they were unhappy with the coverage of the story in the local paper. It was alleged that the article had made catering staff fearful for their jobs.

The publicity generated from the local paper reporting on the blog helped Martha to reach nearly £2,000 in donations for Mary’s Meals, an amazing achievement, which is why it is such a shame that the blog had to be shut down.

A sad end to the blogging career of a little girl with good intentions.

But it didn’t end there.

The news reached the council leader who was unhappy with the action taken, and as a result instructed senior officials to lift the ban.

Martha could blog again!

This was now a big story, and national media organisations were keen to publish their account of events. The Telegraph, The Guardian and BBC news were some of the most notable media organisations to cover the story. Most notable, the BBC article received well over 1,000 comments, and tens of thousands of social shares!

Going Viral

Martha Payne from NeverSeconds
Martha Payne – NeverSeconds Author

First it was just a story. Then it hit the media. Now it was the turn of Facebook and Twitter. Within hours of the BBC publishing their article, tens of thousands of people had shared it, and the NeverSeconds blog hit counter soared from a few thousand views to over a million! Martha was soon trending on Twitter.

The story was so inspirational, many people wanted to pay tribute to Martha’s fantastic work, and did so by donating to the charity she supported – Mary’s Meals. Martha smashed her £7,000 target in a matter of hours, as donations to the charity flooded in. Overnight, Martha became the top fund raiser for Mary’s Meals on the JustGiving website.

By the end of the week, (in just 4 days) donations had topped £50,000! This prompted even more publicity, as the media reported on the remarkable story of the girl who raised tens of thousands for charity, by writing about her school meals.

The NeverSeconds site hit counter now reads in excess of eight million and the donations to Mary’s Meals are over 1750% of Martha’s £7,000 target – currently standing at £123,969.32.

Martha has since been out to Malawi to see one of the projects her fund raising efforts went to help. For more information on her trip, have a read of this BBC news article.

Martha has been named as the Human Rights Young Person of the Year, for her outstanding work, and continues to blog over at NeverSeconds to this day.

The Streisand Effect

This story is a fantastic example of how the media and social networking can be a force for good, and encourage people to think of others. It is also a good example of the Streisand effect in action, the concept whereby attempting to cover something up, thanks to the internet, leads to that very thing getting greater publicity.

Smile today for the story of NeverSeconds 🙂

Categories
Business How To Guides

Ideas on how to promote a startup on a budget

Successful startups have some things in common and top notch marketing is one of them. You might have come up with the greatest idea in the world or built the coolest application, but if other people don’t know about it, your idea or product isn’t worth much. Many young entrepreneurs get so sucked into the creation of the product, that they treat marketing as an afterthought. But as I said before, if users don’t know about a product they won’t be using it.

The immense popularity of the internet has leveled the playing fields, so someone with a small budget working from a garage can compete with big companies as long as they have a cool idea. In fact they might have a better chance in some niches because people have started to distrust companies. Below are few ways you can promote your startup – specifically tech startups.

Social Media

The starting point is creating a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Both are free to start and you have the potential to tap into millions of users. You can get the ball rolling by asking your friends to like and share the page.Business Networking in the 21st Century

Social networks are a good place to share your ideas and plans and get some feedback on them. Every little things count to successfully promote your product. If you have a product that is catering to a specific niche, then try joining a similar niche social network as well.

Contacting Leading Blogs and Getting Press Coverage

Once you come up with a working solution you can contact leading industry blogs to cover your product. Most major technology blogs like TechCrunch and Mashable have separate application forms for startups, so if you are confident about your product you can submit to them.

EDITOR NOTE: I must have misread, I couldn’t see Technology Bloggers among those ‘major technology blogs’! 😉 One day… – note by Christopher

Not only will you get massive exposure you will be able to get funding as well. Even if you don’t get published in major publications there are many other websites that promote startups and you can find many of them by doing a simple Google search.

Attending Conferences

Attending conferences and your local tech gatherings is another great way to spread the word about your product. Attending major conferences helps you network with people and pitch your product to industry leaders.

Local gathering are important because in most of these you will be able to present your product to an audience using a projector, which is far more effective than reading an article about your product. You will also get instant feedback on how you can improve your product as well.

Search Engine Optimization

Another promotion stream that is ignored by most startups is search engine optimization. Although most people in the technology field know about SEO, few actually try to leverage its power. This is especially useful if you are a global product catering to a non tech crowd. They won’t be reading Mashable and attending tech conferences, so the most probable way they will find your product is via search engines.

Even if you are catering to a tech crowd search engine optimization is a must. The long term benefits of SEO are immense. Although it is advisable to outsource your SEO work, if you have lots of content produced through your blog and website, it is better to hire your own SEO engineer. Be careful though, as black-hat SEO can be very damaging to a site, so if you do outsource, make sure it is to someone trustworthy.

Mentioned above are some major things you can do to promote your tech startup. Always remember that more people know about your product the better. The bigger your customer base, the likelihood is, the more money you will make/people you will help!

Categories
Social Media Updates

Which social buttons do you want on the blog?

Technology Bloggers is a community blog, therefore it is only right that the community are consulted on the decisions made.

My question to you is which social networks do you use, and which would you like to be able to connect with on the blog?

There are four main places you can get social on our Technology Bloggers at the moment: the first is the social icons in the header; the second is our social buttons on the sidebar; the third is the social buttons at the top of articles; and the forth is the social icons at the bottom of articles. Check out the image below to see them all.

Social Icons
Technology Bloggers social icons and buttons

My worry is, that we are not providing the buttons/icons you want. I just assume that everyone wants Facebook and Twitter, but do you use them?

In the image above you can see all of the buttons we provide you with. I never really thought we had that many, but putting them all together, there are a lot!

If I know what everyone uses, I can get rid of any unnecessary buttons, and potentially add some more useful ones in.

Which social buttons do you want? Let me know in the comments.

Here are some ideas:

  • Google: Google +1; Google+ Share; Google Buzz
  • Facebook: Facebook Like; Facebook Share
  • Twitter: Twitter Follow; Twitter Tweet; TweetMeme
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • DZone
  • StumbleUpon
  • Topsy
  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • DesignBump
  • Serpd
  • TheWebBlend
  • BlogEngage
  • Pinterest
  • Flattr
Categories
Internet

Is there really that much diversity on the internet?

The internet is big right? Okay it is massive. With that massiveness one naturally associates extreme diversity. Don’t get me wrong, across the entire internet, there is amazing variation, with billions of people adding their spin to the net.

What I am going to investigate in this post though is how diverse the ‘main’ internet is. What I mean by that is the internet that we use every day. How diverse is the most regularly used/visited content? Is there really as much choice as we think, or is the majority of the internet dominated by a few firms?


In order to go about this research I am going to use Alexa, who gather statistics on websites traffic. For most sites, the data isn’t that accurate, however for really busy sites, the numbers are so great, the reliability of the data is much higher, hence why I can use it.

Alexa's Logo

Google

According to Alexa, Google.com is the most visited site on the web. How could it not be? Alexa estimates that 50% of all internet users visited Google.com in the last three months. Second on the list for most visited sites is Facebook, which is trailing with just 45% of internet users visiting the site.

Remember however that is just Google.com, Google has a massive monopoly over the internet. In the 100 most visited sites on the web, 18 of the sites are owned by Google – 16 localised sites, Google.com and GoogleUserContent.com (the site you see when there is an error finding/displaying a page).

Google undoubtedly has reduced diversity on the internet, having such a monopoly on the sites we all visit. The thing is, it isn’t just 18 sites. Google also owns YouTube and (the third most visited site on the net) Blogspot which is ranked 10th, Blogger at 47 (Blogger and Blogspot are now one) and Blogspot.in (India) ranked 73. That means 21 of the most visited sites on the net belong to Google, meaning it owns more than one fifth of the ‘main’ internet.

Googlite Logo
Google’s dominance on the web suggests that a lot of us are Googlites!

Can you call the internet diverse, when in the top one hundred sites, one firm owns more than a fifth of all sites? Maybe, what does the rest of the field look like?

Microsoft

Unsurprisingly, the company that is arguable Google’s main rival is in second place. Yahoo and Microsoft are currently in a ‘Search Alliance’ therefore restricting competition, so I am going to count them in the list of sites that Microsoft owns/influences. Here is the list of sites that Microsoft owns/influences which are top 100 websites:

  • Yahoo.com – Ranked 3rd
  • Live.com – Ranked 7th
  • Yahoo.co.jp – Ranked 16th
  • MSN.com – Ranked 17th
  • Bing.com – Ranked 29th
  • Microsoft.com – Ranked 30th – ironic how it is lower many of the other sites it owns!
  • Flickr.com – Ranked 53rd and Yahoo owned

Therefore Microsoft own/influence 7 of the top 100 sites. Add that to Google’s 21, and 28 of the top sites on the net are owned by two firms. More than a quarter.

I am starting to think the ‘main’ internet is not as diverse as one may first assume.

Amazon

Next on the list of internet giants comes Amazon. Amazon.com is ranked 10th, whilst Amazon Germany (Amazon.de) is ranked 91st and Amazon Japan (Amazon.co.jp) is 95th. Amazon also owns the Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com) which is the 50th most visited site. Amazon owns 4 of the top 100 sites.

Amazon's Logo32 sites gone.

Alibaba Group

The Alibaba Group is a privately owned Chinese business, which owns Alibaba.com, Tmall (tmall.com), Taobao (Taobao.com) and Sogou.com. The group therefore account for four of the sites that make up what I am calling the ‘main internet’.

36 sites taken by just 4 companies. How diverse is our internet?

eBay

Next we come to eBay.com which sits 23rd on the list of top 100 sites. eBay International AG (ebay.de) is in 80th place, followed by eBay UK (ebay.co.uk) in 86th. eBay also owns PayPal (paypal.com) which is ranked 46th.

eBay steals another 4 sites, leaving just 60 of our hundred left, and so far only 5 firms are involved.

Time Warner

CNN (cnn.com) AOL (aol.co.uk) and The Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com) are all sites owned by Time Warner. Time Warner is the sixth business involved now, leaving just 57 sites.

WordPress

The blogging platform WordPress (wordpress.com) is ranked 19th, and its brother, which allows users to host the content management system on their own site (wordpress.org) is ranked 83rd.

The Official WordPress LogoThere goes another two sites, meaning just 55 left, and only seven players so far.

Twitter

Ranked number 8 on the list is Twitter, however its URL shortener (t.co) is ranked 31st, meaning Twitter is also one of the big players in the top 100 sites, arguably with some form of domination over the internet.

Twitter's Logo47 sites of the top 100 accounted for and a mere eight organisations involved.

The Rest

Of the final 53 sites, 5 are adult only sites leaving 48 sites – although many of these either are a part of, or are a much bigger group.

Some familiar faces appear in the other 48 sites, Facebook (2nd), Wikipedia (6th), LinkedIn (11th), Apple (34th), Tumblr (37th),  Pinterest (47th), BBC Online (48th), Ask (54th), AVG (62nd),  Adobe Systems Incorporated (67th), About.com (81st), ESPN (82nd),  Go Daddy (85th), Netflix (89th),  The Pirate Bay (92nd) and CNET (97th).

Remove these very well known, well established, and massive brands, and we are left with 32 sites – less than a third. Of the remaining sites, around half are Chinese, showing the growing influence and usage of the internet in China.

My Verdict

In this post I have established that of the sites we visit most regularly, 47 are owned by just eight organisations. Does that really represent the freedom that we all believe the internet offers?

I was surprised by the type of content, and the limited number of different sites that there are in the global top 100. It would seem that the most visited sites consist of search engines, social media sites and news websites. Interesting statistics.

So, what is your verdict on how diverse the internet we use everyday is? I personally am not quite as convinced as I was before writing this article that the internet is quite as free and diverse as we all believe.

Please note these rankings are changing all the time, and all content was correct according to Alexa.com at the time of writing – the 6th of July 2012.

Categories
Business News Social Media

What we now know about Facebook

As you may have heard, Facebook plans to become a public limited company (plc) and float on the stockmarket. It hopes that this will raise around the sum of $5 billion USD (this is only about half what most people thought it would try to raise) in finance for the business, a colossal amount!

Facebook's LogoThanks to the flotation it is estimated that around 30% (roughly 1,000 people) of the companies employees will become millionaires! That said, Mark Zuckerberg is reducing his annual salary to just $1 as of January next year. Why? Because he will have shares estimated at the value of around $100 billion!

Anyway, due to Facebook wanting to become a plc, it needed to release more detailed financial data than it ever had before, into the public domain. This means that we now know much more about this previously rather secretive internet giant, than ever before!

Finances

Thanks to its choice to become a plc, we now know that Facebook makes 85% of its income from advertising. Furthermore we know that last year it made almost $4 billion USD! Out of this, it turned an impressive 25% into profit, bringing it in $1 billion (supposedly exactly) in net profit.

It is now possible to value to company as a whole, and it is thought to be worth $100 billion USD. To compare that to other industry giants, Amazon is valued around the same amount, eBay is values at about half that figure, and Google is thought to be worth double that.

Ownership

Facebook will still be owned and controlled largely by Mark Zuckerberg. He currently owns 28.4% of Facebook and has a majority in terms of voting rights with over 50% of votes. Basically Zuckerberg owns Facebook still, and he seems to want to stay in the driving seat for a while yet!

Mark Zuckerberg the founder of FacebookUsers

We now also know that Facebook have around 845 million active users around the world, of whom, around 450 million visit the site very regularly – that is a crazy amount!

The Future?

Facebook would be worth nothing without its users. Some people say that its users are not Facebook’s customers, but in fact the networks products. If people get bored or move on, the site will die.

If you were buying shares in an internet based business, Google would probably be a much safer bet than Facebook, as its future looks much more certain. Facebook may pay massive dividends to investors in the future, or it may go into decline and cost investors a collective $5 billion!


Friends Reunited was once great, now it stands in Facebook’s massive shadow, as does Myspace, Bebo, Foursquare and many other social media sites. All these sites how now been superseded by Facebook, the question is, will Google Plus or something else dwarf Facebook? Personally I believe that in 10 years, there will be something bigger, but we will just have to wait and see 🙂

Categories
Business How To Guides Internet Social Media

Business networking in the 21st century

Business networking in the 21st century remains a critical component of building and maintaining contacts with like-minded entrepreneurs and existing and potential clients.

Business Networking in the 21st Century
Networking in today's world can be a very different prospect to yester year. Technology has created a whole host of new platforms with which businesses can network effectively.

The internet and social media has made it easier than ever to communicate with people from relevant organisations and networks and share knowledge, attract new clients and recruit new employees.

The combination of new social media tricks of the trade with the traditional means of liaising with useful resources and forging new working relationships means business networking is multi-faceted in the 21st century.

Make use of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is arguably the largest business-related social networking site on the internet and consequently is a great platform to build and manage your professional identity. LinkedIn has over 10,000 groups that you can join and participate in discussions and debates whilst connecting with corporate blogs in an effort to engage with your professional network.

Shout about your expertise

Don’t be afraid to display your expertise to potential clients and fellow professionals. Use social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook to build a virtual contacts book and offer regular snippets of advice that add value to your followers’ day-to-day working lives. If you’ve got something more in-depth to say why not consider writing a personal blog that can be a great way of building contacts and trust in an informal manner.

Encourage word of mouth

One of the main benefits of social media networks is that they encourage effective word of mouth marketing for products and services. If the response is positive and it goes viral it can be a major coup for emerging businesses. Similarly, it can be a very damaging experience if businesses receive negative feedback. However, in the main it is great for brand exposure and for building trust with potential clientèle.

Show your face at events

In order to become a familiar figure to like-minded entrepreneurs and potential connections it is important to engage with local business networking organisations and show your face at as many events as possible.

Death of the business card? No way!

Although you could be forgiven for thinking business cards may be somewhat defunct in their purpose with the accessibility of the internet and social media, it is still a very successful tool for attracting leads and referrals in the 21st century. A business card still makes that all-important first impression of your business to potential customers and subsequently it should be eye-catching and memorable, whilst being a treasure trove of contact information without being mundane.

Be selective with new contacts

It is highly likely you will meet a multitude of names and faces when business networking in the 21st century. However, the likelihood of staying in contact with all your new connections is very slim. Consequently you should aim to be selective with the contacts you touch base with on a regular basis – ideally entrepreneurs and businesses that can offer you something extra.

Business networking remains a crucial skill for successful entrepreneurs and effective networking will certainly add an extra dimension to your businesses’ growth potential.

Categories
Business Internet

Daily Deal Market Ripe For Consolidation

According to Yipit, there are 384 daily deal websites operating in North America that it knows about. This number is almost certainly far higher once you consider all the smaller sites that are not able to run deals each and every day.

So is the market too saturated? Is the industry doomed to fail because there are too many competitors competing for an ever shrinking supply of customers?

In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the telephone and one of the biggest communications companies of the time immediately dismissed it with the famous quote:

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”

That company was Western Union and the lack of foresight for this new technology meant they were never able to compete in the profitable telecommunications industry – an industry which they had previously dominated with their telegram service.

Between 1894 and 1904 over six thousand telephone companies went in to business and from there mergers, acquisitions and closures happened to consolidate the industry to just a handful of companies today.

In 1939 there were 132 railroads in America, today that number is just seven as mergers, acquisitions and closures meant huge consolidation in that industry.

An early 1900's American train
The sort of train that powered America in the early 1900’s

In 2005 there were a huge number of social networks available, Myspace, Orkut, Bebo, Friendster and Classmates to name but a few. Today? We have one site, Facebook as the market consolidated.

In 2007 there was just one daily deal website worth mentioning which was Woot, a hugely popular and profitable website that continues to grow and increase its revenues. After the launch of Groupon it spawned off thousands of clones around the world, over 400 of them in American alone.

Since 2009 there have been 72 acquisitions in the daily deal industry, 44 coming in the last 6 months alone. Groupon have gone for an expansion by acquisition business model with at least 8 buys under its belt, Google too is eyeing up the industry with several acquisitions in the daily deal market to expand its Google Offers programme.

There are plenty of other acquisitions too, LivingSocial have bought at least seven daily deal sites and BuyWithMe have purchased 6 daily deal sites before they too have been purchased.

So just like other new inventions and markets spawned hundreds of clones, it might look like the daily deal market is in decline as the number of sites decreases but there is still a very healthy merger and acquisition process taking place as the deal market looks to consolidate and become profitable.

Categories
Business How To Guides Internet Social Media

How to start a career in social media

Social media has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry and opportunities to build a career around it are becoming increasingly common.

If you’re looking to start a career in the competitive world of social media and digital marketing, setting up a blog is a great place to start.

A blog not only allows you to express your personality and offer your opinions, but also gives future employers an insight into your knowledge, skills and experience. Pick a subject that you are passionate about and blog regularly to attract readers and establish your credibility. Aim to be a unique voice in the ‘blogosphere’.

There are a variety of free online services available that can help you with the technology side of setting up a blog. Then it’s a case of attracting followers by creating interesting content, updating it regularly and promoting it through other social networks such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter's LogoPursuing a career in social media however is not just about knowing how to send a tweet, post a blog or set up a Facebook page. At the end of the day all businesses are looking at the impact social media has on their customer relations, business strategy, marketing and product positioning.

Demonstrate that you are serious by enrolling in a diploma in digital marketing and social media such as the one offered by the University of Middlesex. The postgraduate course combines theory and marketing practices to teach students how social media is contributing to entrepreneurship and innovation in modern businesses. Students attend guest lectures by professionals from some of the major organisations in web and social media including Google, Twitter and Groupon.

To have a competitive edge in social media, keep up to date with the latest developments. Understand the importance of monitoring, evaluation and analytics. You need to be familiar with the main social media sites but also the less popular ones as well which may have the advantage of providing a more targeted audience for the services or products you are promoting. You need to be able to spot trends and differentiate between up and coming sites and ones that won’t last the distance.

More than likely when you enter a career in social media you will be expected to be a good all-rounder and take responsibility for all areas of digital marketing. Job roles include social media officer, digital marketing manager or even director of social media. However larger organisations may allow you to specialise, so you could find yourself with a job title such as blog editor, analytics manager, designer, social media developer or content manager.