Saturday, January 17, 2009

Social media as a business tool

An article by SMH/Age reporter Paul McIntyre recently suggests that with the Prime Minister of Australia on Twitter, blogging his way to the next election, that it's about time business sites up and gets more serious about harnessing the power of social media as a business tool.

All the evidence suggests it will be impossible to ignore.

Twitter, a micro-blogging venture in which users post views, or "tweets", to a maximum of 140 characters, is still tiny. But numbers are up more than 500 per cent this year in Australia, says Hitwise. And the time Twitterites spend with the application is greater than MySpace, Facebook and any of the big five online publishers, including ninemsn and Yahoo!7.

Twitter is just one emerging social media application, but combined with others (and there are hundreds) it is creating a boom for the PR industry because someone's got to interpret what's being said about companies and brands online.

However while technology may be helping media audiences gather news from sources outside the mainstream - eg blogs, social networks, podcasting, vodcasting, video-sharing sites, it can't deliver what companies need: automated insight about consumers.

Companies around the world over are starting to dabble with social media - and they have to or they will be left behind.

Here are some of its statistics on online users gathered this year:
Bloggers globally: 184 million;
Those who watch video clips online: 82.9 per cent;
Those who say they have joined a social network: 57 per cent;
Those who have uploaded photos to a network: 55 per cent;
Those who have uploaded videos to a network: 22 per cent;
Those who have uploaded a video clip to a video sharing website: 8.5 per cent.


These are global figures, but UM breaks out some numbers for Australian users: 62 per cent say they have read a blog, up from 21 per cent in 2006 and 55 per cent last year.

Most important point for companies: 34 per cent of bloggers say they post opinions about products or brands!

So the challenge for those of us in PR is not only to monitor these forums for information and discussions around our products or brand but how we engage and participate in the discussion.

Join in the Professional Communicators' Network Online Forum
The Professional Communicators' Network Online Forum is a global networking site connecting professionals from around the world and providing a platform to share what works. Joining is F.R. E.E. so get connected with like minded professionals and actively participate in the discussion.


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To read Paul McIntyre's original article visit http://www.theage.com.au/news/technology/biztech/using-social-media-for-commercial-gain/2008/12/04/1228257189521.html

7 comments:

steve said...

Social Networks like Facebook, Linkedin, Ecademy, Fast Pitch, Plaxo, FaceBook are the ultimate way to interact with other businesses or friends.
That’s powerful…and also very simple to use. It is easier to tell 1000’s of people that you are launching a new service or product or telling your friends that you are enjoying a round of golf rather than drafting an entire email campaign.
So now you know a lot of people and businesses...




more

Heidi Alexandra Pollard said...

Thanks for your comment Steve - indeed my own business has flourished with the support of online networks and forums, I have met new clients and JV partners via the web.

jacob said...

If I were to wager a guess at why, I’d say that users don’t “browse” forms. The interaction style users engage in with forms is different, and requires its own study and design best practices.
online marketing

Stacy said...

Hello ...

My name is Stacy H. I love how you talk about this in your blog as much as eyelid surgery cost ... I feel much passion for the business ... I love the subject and also keep me informed about this. I hope some day be a great businesswoman and develop in this area that I like.

Many thanks for your help ..

criticpapa said...

whoa!!!, you had a passion in blogging, thumbs up for your work of love.. Hehe very inspiring ideas,


anyway I'm william
mind if I put a link back to you?


see my works here ------> Big Suit

criticpapa said...

whoa!!!, you had a passion in blogging, thumbs up for your work of love.. Hehe very inspiring ideas,


anyway I'm william
mind if I put a link back to you?


see my works here ------> Big Suit

john steve said...

Impressive and incredible post. Thanks for sharing, Cheers !
Business Planning Brisbane