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Social Media, The Next Big Rvolution in Enterprise

Rishi Taparia
Thursday, March 3, 2011
 Rishi Taparia
As the social network continues to expand, the world continues to shrink. Thanks to the innovation that has taken place over the last ten years, it has become easier to stay in touch with friends and family, learn about people’s backgrounds and work experience, and receive real-time updates on people’s lives. Online connections are paving the way for deeper off-line relationships. As people continue to portray increasingly authentic versions of themselves and their interests online, the value of social networks will only increase. This will not only influence personal interactions, but will also revolutionize the interactions that individuals have with businesses. As users come to demand a more customized online experience, businesses will need to interact with their customers on a personal level. Tapping into and developing an understanding of the new consumer, an extremely social and mobile being, will be essential in order to survive in today’s market.

Plotting the social graph: According to a recent comScore report, 12 percent of time spent on the Internet last year was passed on a social network, with one out of 10 website visits landing on a social networking site. But that doesn’t capture the full reach of social media sites. With over 2.5 million websites currently integrated with Facebook, including over 80 of comScore’s 100 most popular websites, people are engaging with their social network more than they might realize.

The penetration of social media has reached critical mass. Personalized online experiences, customizable for the individual based demographic data such as age, gender and location can now be offered. The next step in the proliferation of social media will be the optimization of the web based on the ‘social graph’, the map of an individual’s social connections through which people communicate and share information. The social graph provides companies with a highly advanced means of leveraging one of the most basic principles of human nature: people tend to choose friends who share their preferences, interests, and values. Still in its early days, tapping into the social graph holds promising implications for content delivery and consumption.

While it may take some time for the technology to develop, the path towards a true ‘recommendation engine’ has begun to materialize. Users will soon have access to an online experience customized not only to their demographic data and their own interests and likes, but also built around the collective preferences of their social graph. Shopping online for sneakers will no longer simply be as one-dimensional as visiting websites and scrolling through pictures and reviews, trying to find the right pair. Instead, shoppers will see content driven by their friends’ recent purchases, the types of shoes that are trending for their demographic, and styles specifically chosen to reflect their past purchases and future expected use. As the technology continues to develop, more companies will attempt to integrate data from the social graph into their websites and offer content personalized to their users’ interests and history.

Social media in the enterprise: With more people spending more time consuming and creating social media content, companies have begun to adjust their advertising and marketing strategies to capitalize on the trend. Advertising and marketing budgets for social media will continue to cannibalize those for traditional channels such as print, radio and television. Social media has given companies and brands the opportunity to create online identities that customers can directly interact with, pushing business-to-consumer relationships to a depth simply not possible with conventional media.

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