Social Media Networking and the Future of Online Influence

Social Media Networking and the Future of Online Influence

Social media networking sites have become the second largest medium of communications within our world. Over one billion people from around the globe have at least one profile on some type of social media platform. As a matter of fact, at least 1 out of every 5 people will visit a social media networking page when they log onto the internet. Television is the only medium that has a larger audience than social media networking sites. Since so many people are connected to each other online, businesses and various organizations now use the convenience of these sites to have access to millions. Various governments, businesses and social organizations now have the ability to communicate with global audiences and sell products and services to the masses. They can also use online influence to influence social and cultural groups in different regions of the world. Social media sites have opened up a brand new era of economics, socialization, communications and politics.

How is Social Media Networking Used in General?

The average person that uses a social media networking site does so for the purpose of communication and socialization. People like to keep in touch with family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. Profile users talk with each other about personal things, they share photos, watch videos, play games and try to find former school mates or old friends. Many people also use social media networking sites to find dates and to meet new faces. Meeting new and different people has been made easy with the use of social networks. People can now hook-up or connect with profile users from different countries. In some cases individuals from different states or nations have become newlyweds after meeting each other online. However, it must be said, that most individuals still prefer meeting people in person than online.

What Makes Social Media Networking so Influential?

When the internet first became popular within the public, chat rooms were the first places for people to meet and socialize while online. Chat rooms were popular from 1997 to around 2004. During that time if people wanted to meet other people from different parts of the world they would create profiles and log into a chat room where they could talk with one another. A lot of chat users would exchange numbers and talk on the phone. Photo sharing and profiles were not that common and people spoke to one another without knowing how another person really appeared. Eventually this all changed when MySpace broke onto the scene. What made MySpace so fascinating was that people could add friends, communicate with music stars, view profile pictures and listen to music from professional and amateur artists. People got to live out their fantasies with becoming rock stars or big time rap artists even if they were unsigned and unrecognized music personalities. The average user on MySpace created elaborate accounts filled with fun information and glamorous pictures. MySpace also allowed a lot people who could not or did not go out on the weekend to stay home and just “hang out” while online. Before MySpace started its descent the company had paved the way for other social media networking sites to gain ground. Millions of people were exposed to the concept of social through the use of MySpace.

The other major social media networking sites might not have copied MySpace but it would hard for them not to admit that MySpace made it easier for them to enjoy the success that they are having now. Facebook was the next major in the list of social networks to emerge. Even though it finally started to beat out MySpace in 2008 it was still slowly catching on. In the meantime Twitter exploded on the scene in 2006. Twitter did not start to gain steam until 2007 and by 2010 people were “tweeting” millions of small bite sized information in a matter of seconds. Facebook and Twitter became the two dominating social networks. MySpace has now dropped off the radar and though it is still being used by musicians and regular people; it is no longer relevant in terms of being a major social media website. Facebook became popular because it allowed users to stay in touch with friends and family and to find lost social contacts. Twitter is popular because it allows users to communicate through mobile devices with bite sized pieces of information, thus can offer better grounds for social media influence. More importantly, Twitter and Facebook have given the common person a voice and a means to express their opinion. These factors are now influencing the internet and the world in ways before this time were unknown.

Social Media Online Influence

Ask any real teacher or student of history and they will tell you, with the exception of a few incidents, the masses never directly influenced the direction of the public. People in power held that privilege. In the present time, this situation has changed. With so many people logged onto social media networking sites, they now have a voice and a means to express their opinions. Many find this kind of power dangerous and many others think it is important for people to be able to freely express themselves. Twitter is a social media networking site that is very influential over the masses. Since Twitter allows people to communicate on just about any subject imaginable people can now add their “two cents worth” to just about any topic or issue. People on Twitter could get together on a certain issue or subject and definitely influence how people perceive a matter or an individual. People who pay close attention to the millions of “Tweets” or bite sized messages that are 140 characters or less, they will notice that most of the people are basically saying the same thing but in slightly different ways. One person could log onto Twitter and say something positive or negative about any subject and many more people will usually type in information that is similar to what they are saying.

Google+ has made a tremendous progress in the last couple of years, becoming more influential in the hearts and minds of more and more online users. Huge investments in technology and user interface design, have brought Gooolg+ to become the first choice for many users, primarily those who are looking for more visual means to connect, engage and socialize.

While it is probably true that most people think alike; up until now, most people just did not have a way of social networking and expressing their views within a collective group of millions of people. Twitter and Facebook have made this possible and organizations such as governments, businesses and social agencies are paying attention. As a matter of fact, social networks are constantly being monitored for various activities that could disrupt societies and for extremist attitudes that have the potential to catch on with millions of followers. Twitter and Facebook made the world a smaller place and people are now able to share a global consciousness through the use of the social networks.

Businesses and Social Media

The above information had to be presented in order for people to understand the information that is about to be brought forth. Businesses realize that the online world is now the new economic frontier. While most people still buy goods and services in brick and mortar locations, the internet is now being used by millions of people to buy goods and services. Businesses have become aware of this growing trend and they’re influencing many people on social media  website to buy what they have to sell. Businesses know that they cannot have access to millions of people on their websites simply because their sites have been set up to showcase and sell products and not to interact with customers socially. So they have created business accounts on the big social networks and then have their followers keep in touch with them through these portals. A lot of businesses have Twitter accounts that are exclusively used for communicating with customers and informing them about new deals or products or services. They also use their social media accounts to offer customers with specialized customer care. Big corporations and businesses pay social media networking sites money to advertise on their sites. Online advertisements work and this marketing method is not any different from the kind that is used on television. Corporations and businesses have influenced so many people to shop and buy products online that a few of them have created a day known as Cyber Monday. Since Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday season of the year, many corporations, companies and businesses have created Cyber Monday to be a similar day to Black Friday. The only exception being is that Cyber Monday takes place the first Monday after Thanksgiving and consumers are given exclusive deals for shopping online instead of stores. Business organizations use social media sites to make this day possible by informing millions of consumers who are connected to social media networking wecsites.

Branding with Social Media

Organizations and people brand their reputation, products and services with the use of social sites. This is possible because so many people are logged online through these portals. Organizations and individuals can develop their brand by connecting into social sites that are relevant to their purpose. People and organizations who take the time to talk with their followers and who present something meaningful or relevant to their lives can make a connection with many people while online. However, this can be a tricky thing to do and an organization or person must naturally have some type of ability to make people recognize who they are and what they’re about. For some reason, people are just naturally drawn to certain products, individuals and services once they come into contact with them.

Making Social Media users into Customers or Followers

A lot of organizations and individuals try to gain customers and followers through the internet but prove to be unsuccessful. For example, no one can say for sure why certain restaurants can make hamburgers and French fries that appeal to many different types of people over many generations; or why other restaurants that clearly make a better product are almost unknown by the masses. The best way for any business or person to appeal to potential customers online is by using the right words to speak to specific audiences and by presenting their product, service or image in the best way possible. Creating images that appeal to targeted audiences, establishing common ground with consumers and making it a point to listen and talk with customers still remain the most effective ways to reach out to consumers. A lot of the traditional marketing methods that work with gaining customers offline can be adapted to do the same thing online. Using word-of-mouth advertising campaigns with influential followers could also yield excellent results for spreading information about a product, service or image.

Social Media and the Future

Social media networking sites and services will become more prominent in the future and as it does more people from different cultures and nations will be signing up for a profile. People like social networks because they give them a lot to do and give them a voice to express themselves to the world. They can use a social media networking website to meet people, spread their identity and set up their online presence. Organizations can reach out to people and expand their products and services. Social media networking sites open up many new possibilities for organizations and people from all walks of life. These possibilities will continue to shape and influence how people live, work and socialize within the world.

What do you think of the future of social media networking? Please comment below!

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

 

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Ron Sela

Ron Sela

Managing Director at Sharp Fellow
Ron is a Strategic Business Consultant, primarily for startups and entrepreneurs. In addition, Ron is also a frequent blogger and speaker on topics such as strategic finance, startup funding and online influence. Over the past 15 years, Ron held senior level finance positions with various startups, and provided business strategy and advice for early stage companies.
Ron Sela
Ron Sela
Ron Sela

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  1. […] Below, I included a list of amazing social media startups in Israel, based on my public Twitter list. The startups are listed by their most recent Klout score. Klout is an awesome online tool that monitors the level of engagement of brands, companies and individuals in social networks, sometimes also referred to as online influence. I find it interesting to monitor the level of engagement  of developers in the social media platforms sphere in social media networking. […]

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