The Social Media Landscape

In my first post I introduced social media and its meaning.  This post, my second,  is about the different social media networks and their proper use.  Mountain range

Social media is not an advertising platform but it is a relationship building and nurturing platform. It is an organic online conversation between peers of more or less the same interests, wants and needs.

It is also an open communication network powered by the different social media networks such as: blogs, RSS feeds, bookmarking, video and photo sharing sites, wikis, message boards, social gaming, social media press releases etc…

The Social Media Landscape:

The Social media landscape is very noisy.  There are hundreds of Social Networks if not thousands, so the need to differentiate between their functions, niche and uses becomes a necessity and not a luxury.

That is why a good Social Media strategy has to be put in place, depending on the nature of each business and their target customers; it is not a one size fits all.   A social media strategy will narrow your focus by targeting the proper nice of audience, establish and maintain presence, and build relationships

The best way to leverage the social media networks is by having a profile that stands out of the crowd. The profile should be optimized to:

1- Reinforce a brand
2- Be found by search engines for ranking, by using the proper keywords in the right places (keywords used by prospects searching for your industry or services and not keywords that are relevant to you or your business)
3- Maximize inviteness to your profile

The following examples are the different channels of Social Media and their use:

1. Communication:  Blogs, micro-blogs, social networking, Google, Yahoo such as: Blogger, WordPress, Twitter, Facebook.
2. Collaboration:  Social bookmarking and discussion forums sites such as: Digg, Newsvine, Magnolia, Stumbleupon, Yelp.
3. Multi-media sites:  Multi-media sites share photos and videos such as: Flickr, SmugMug, YouTube, HuluTV, JustinTV, Viddler and UStream.tv.
4. Entertainment/ Virtual sites:  Virtual worlds, games, online gambling and the Harry Potter World such as: Second Life, world warcraft, SparkleIM, Harry Potter world

The 3 most widely used social networks are:

1. LinkedIn
• LinkedIn is the only professional-based network.
• 50+ million members worldwide, 50% in the United States
• Average income on LinkedIn is $109,000/year
• Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn
• Decision-makers and CEOs are on LinkedIn
• Connections are 1ry, 2ry and 3ry degree network
• Used to establish one’s credibility and expertise i.e. self-branding
• Great tool for job search
• Builds new business partnerships & increases prospects
• Creates buzz for events
• Improves search engine visibility

2. Facebook
• Facebook is the 5th most popular site among social networks with 500 M users.
• 110 million active users
• #1 photo-sharing site
• 6 million active groups
• The highest ranking Fan pages are: Obama, Nutella, Dr. House and Twilight
• Business/ Fan pages exist. Ads are very targeted by location, age, gender, title, income etc… and it is set as per the advertiser budget.
• Facebook is a closed community meaning that you cannot reach its members unless you are signed in on Facebook and being a part of the community.
• Its power lies in the massive numbers of its active members and the groups created on Facebook.
• For business, it is advised to create a business/ Fan page – separate it totally from your personal page, start by being your 1st fan – do not transpose the friends you have on your personal page to your business page.

3. Twitter

• Micro-blogging site that allows up to 140 characters
• Provides updates about “What are you doing now” in real-time
• Flexibility lies in the capability to update status from the web, IM or cell phones
• Traffic has increased 800% in one year
• 6 million active users
• Used by news media during Iran elections
• The Obama Administration, WN, JetBlue use Twitter
• Is now linked to LinkedIn.
• Used by companies to market their products or services by giving them a voice or identity.
• Its power is in its search platform
• Builds credibility

My next post will be about how social media changed the face of marketing probably forever
Merry Christmas to all, stay safe.

Cheers,

Sahar Andrade
www.saharconsulting.com
www.linkedin.com/in/saharandrade
www.saharconsulting.wordpress.com

Sahar Andrade

Sahar Andrade is a Marketing and Business Development expert, experienced with Fortune 500 companies, Sahar directs international campaigns. As a Social Media Certified Specialist, Sahar offers real world business experience with a straight-talk approach to solving problems covering: Cultural diversity management and awareness, and its effect on the Corporations, ROI and their marketing planning Leadership, business skills, and self development Motivation. Sahar collaborates with cultures in domestic international markets. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, and raised in Algeria and the Gulf Region, Sahar Andrade grew up appreciating and learning diverse cultures and traditions. She arrived in the US in September of 1986, with just one suitcase in hand. While in college, Sahar began to climb the “corporate ladder” as a Reservations agent. Today, Sahar is the founder of “Sahar Consulting”, Sr. VP Projects' Management and member of the Board of Directors for the International Green Summit, as well as being the Co-Founder of “Children’s Choice” a charity nonprofit organization. Living and working with different people & cultures as well as years working for International Airlines traveling all over the world left a great impact on Sahar, and help her deliver quality information on "international business etiquette" worldwide, hoping to give a few insights into how culture impacts on international business, and how is business communication impacted on by culture and how should employees and businesses interact globally to achieve success. Sahar has delivered presentations and speeches in the Middle East, Europe and the United States to corporations and educational institutions on topics such as “Effect of Cultural diversity on Business Etiquettes”, “Social Marketing”, “Cultural Awareness in the workplace”, and “Effect of Cross-Cultures on Marketing. She is also a featured columnist at "Eco-Chamber" website, as well as being a contributor at "the bloggers Bulletin: Blog Zone". http://www.ecochamber.com/category/columnists/sahar-andrade-columnists/ http://www.thebloggersbulletin.org/saharandrade Sahar gave presentations at the City of West Hollywood 3rd Annual Women Leadership Conference March of 2009, where she presented a "Motivational Workshop": MotivateU. Additionally she spoke at the "Entrepreneurs' Seminar" on the benefits of Inbound Marketing, presented a seminar about self branding to NOW Hollywood and NCJW, as well as presenting 2 other seminars to LAAMA about social media & Twitter. She was also a guest on BlogTalkRadio presenting “How Cultural Diversity affects Marketing” http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LaunchNotes/2009/08/26/Sahar-Andrade-Sahar-Consulting Sahar’s credentials include BS in Psychiatry from the Cairo University of Medicine, Certification from Cema as a certified E-marketeer, an IM certificate as an Inbound Marketing certified specialist, and is a certified Diversity trainer. Email: sahar@saharconsulting.com www.saharconsulting.com 

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  1 comment for “The Social Media Landscape

  1. December 30, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Hi Sahar,

    I do think your post is eagerly profitable, explaining clearly what surrounds Social Media and stops in deep on the 3 major social media channels. Besides this, I’d like to expand the point about LinkedIn with this extra data:

    – The average LinkedIn profiles working at Google is 47%.
    – The average number of Harvard Business School graduates is 58%.
    – People with more than 20 contacts have 34 times more chance of being contacted for a job that a person who has less than 5 contacts.
    – In the point you mentions that Fortune 500 are represented in LinkedIn. I’d like to add that, in fact 499 of them are represented by director-level upwards.

    Hope this helps

    Thanks for sharing

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