There were 2.4 billion internet users recorded in 2012. That is enough to change the world we live in, and it has.
Social outreach and social connections matter, whether you are a government or a big company, people power expressed through these connections is a valuable currency and often small niches of connected people can make a big noise.
We have observed WikiLeaks and classified documents spreading around the world regardless of the US government, mass-hacktivism has become a normal business risk.
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We have seen with events such as the overthrow of the Egyptian government, with people self-organising online and through social networks, how online social activism is a growing movement to force change on countries, governments, and policies.
How can it help your business today?
The good news is that social business models are demonstrating that small businesses can be larger and more capable than they are physically. The line between the physical business and social business is blurred and it changes the potential of a business. Connecting your business wider and over more channels is smart when it comes to social business outreach and using connections as a currency.
Don’t just think the obvious, Facebook, (read Facebook’s admission here about defection of users), LinkedIn or Twitter, here are some alternatives to consider when building social outreach and generating connection currency.
Ninety million active users, 40 million photos uploaded per person. Turn Instagram into your online store. Post your products, add links to purchase them on a site like etsy.com/au or ebay.com.au. It is that easy. Read the Rookies Guide to Instagram.
Same deal for Pinterest with its 25.3 million unique visitors. Social Media Examiner is a great resource to get you started with the guide to business pages on Pinterest.
Sixty million photos are being shared over Snapchat daily, with 3.4 million people using the app in December, more than double Snapchat’s November traffic. It’s a digital version of passing notes in class, according to Snapchat’s founders. If you want a youth audience, I would get on to Snapchat, fast. I predict this app is going to be the “thing” that has the potential to take over SMS.
Take a pic and send it with a caption and time limit to your connections. You choose how long the photo stays current from one to ten seconds, then it’s deleted. Be innovative and use Snapchat now as an early adopter, as an instant “flash” promotion channel.
Seventy-seven per cent of academic teachers believe that online e-learning outcomes are the same or better than face-to-face. There is so much to learn and e-learning is a great way to learn and help your employees learn efficiently. This is a great article on eLearning.
Speed reading was an online course I took. I have to absorb so much information about digital developments and news, I simply needed to be able absorb a lot of information in a time efficient way. Sometimes, it is not about doing a semester of learning, it only has to be a short online course to help your business work more efficiently.
This is a quality over quantity social network. Users only being able to share with 150 people, Path delivers a smaller, but higher quality audience, which builds exclusivity and more in-depth to connections.
Google is starting to integrate its other tools into Google+, making it an exciting platform as a business strategy in its own right. Add other aspects, such as Google maps for geo-location, Google Shopping (now a paid for service based on Ad Words revenue model) Google Moderator, YouTube plug-ins and Google Analytics could see Google become a one-stop valuable commodity to small business.
Tumblr is a ‘microblogging’ tool similar to Twitter or Facebook. It’s a fast way to add content and also valuable to build your SEO out. Anything that makes it quicker and easier in a world where we all have attention deficiency syndrome, the better! Tumblr is quick and easy.
Not too convinced by Pheed as yet, but a network to watch. It is like a cross between Facebook and Twitter; the social network interface looks like Google Plus and allows video, audio, text, photo, etc. However, in my experience joining these networks early means you can connect more easily with early adopters, who are more likely internet creators and influencers.
Social media management
There have been some fantastic lists for social media management tools for small businesses, covering Hootsuite, Sproutsocial, who offer a 30-day free trial, Raven and so on.
Last but not least, an old but very effective favourite if correctly used…
Eight hundred million unique users every month create great content and update it regularly.
No point in my repeating tips, when YouTube has created a playbook to take you through how to get the best of YouTube. Download it! I know of people who have become famous, got record contracts and built their whole businesses around YouTube channels.
Also don’t forget the whole conversation and community aspect, invite input – use the little known tool Google Moderator with your YouTube strategy.
Fi Bendall is the managing director of digital and interactive consultancy company Bendalls Group. With over 20 years’ experience, Bendall has worked with global brands including BBC and Virgin, and is an expert in how businesses can approach strategy in the digital world. You can follow her on Twitter at @FiBendall, and can contact her through Bendalls Group.