In the last ten years, social media platforms have seen an exponential growth. This is partly due to the increase in popularity of smart devices. People carry their smartphones and tablets everywhere, and can easily access their social media accounts on the go and from anywhere. In other words, more and more people are logging into social media sites constantly. There are now more than 2 billion active social media users worldwide, and we see a sharp growth of 25% to 30% each year.
Businesses haven’t failed to notice the roaring expansion of social media. 9 out of 10 U.S. companies are now active on social networks. Business that are on social media are also reporting increased exposure and better engagement, and more than half say their social media efforts are boosting sales and increasing revenue.
So as a business owner or marketer, what are the top social media sites that you need to get on and start using. Here is a list of the top five social media sites of the future according to the world economic forum:
The largest social media site, with well over a billion users, it is still the top runner when it comes to social media. While it remains a popular application to update friends on your activities, the network has also become a significant news source. No doubt that business can benefit from having a strong presence, the true value comes in understanding what people are talking about and sharing with their networks.
A big name in photo edits and sharing, Instagram allows users to take photos and alter them using numerous pre-installed filters before sharing them online. A rapidly-growing platform with an estimated 500 million active users. As the focus is on images, it’s especially useful if you are reaching a younger audience who responds to photos, graphics, memes, and short videos. If you want to succeed with Instagram, it’s important that you have a good eye for detail and have at least basic photography skills.
Pinterest has over 60 million active users and is a very powerful image-based social media website. The main competitor is Instagram, Pinterest is a photo collection and sharing network which allows users to upload their own photos or “pin” others into various collections or “boards’ on the network. The majority of Pinterest users are female, which is important to keep in mind for marketing purposes.
Founded in 2002, LinkedIn is THE premier B2B social networking site. LinkedIn is a social network aimed at professionals and businesses, and in addition to updates allows users to create content such as articles. In addition to being able to reach out to others in your industry, you can purchase paid posts and participate in groups.
Twitter has some unique advantages, such as the ability to connect with influencers and to build a following fairly quickly. With Twitter, you can share short (140 or fewer characters) text updates, along with videos, images, links, polls and more. Unlike Facebook, which uses a complex algorithm to show users content, Twitter updates chronologically. This is another site that everyone in digital media should be using.
BING is a popular web search engine introduced by Microsoft. It is also advertised as the “decision engine” due to its unique search technology. BING was previously known as Live Search, then the Windows Live Search, and later as MSN Search.
This search engine was first introduced by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on May 28, 2009, at the All Things Digital conference in San Diego, California, USA. The distinctive feature is the listing of search suggestions while queries are entered and a list of related searches (called “Explore pane”) that worked based on a semantic technology that Microsoft purchased from Powerset. As of August 2011, BING has been using a new index-serving technology called “Tiger” that delivers faster and more relevant results for users.
BING as a search engine offers the following additional features to its users:
• Integration with Hotmail
• Integration with Facebook
• Integration with Apple
• Integration with Windows 8
• Media features
• Instant answers
• Local info
The other exclusive feature about the search engine is that it is available in many languages and is localized for many countries. BING also offers many search products for its users, such as Bing Ads, Bing Visual Search, Bing Wolfram Alpha, Bing xRank and more. It also offers a program called Bing Rewards that allows users to earn points for searching with Bing. These points can be redeemed for various products and services on the search engine.
The BING Ads Express is a famous service offered for small businesses that are interested in promoting their business to local customers searching online across the Yahoo Bing Network. According to recent data released by Pricing Engine – a small business marketing platform – the trend is changing in the PPC (pay per click) market. Bing ads are a “more efficient” buy than Google AdWords. The analysis of the data shows that big brands may favor the higher query volume on Google, but small businesses don’t need the same kind of scale. Indeed, in some cases, significant scale can create fulfillment problems for small businesses. BING is gradually becoming a more preferred advertisement platform among small businesses.
So what’s the difference between a regular search engine and a decision engine like BING? Well, perhaps it’s rational. According to Microsoft, Bing is designed to minimize the amount of junk results we get when you perform a search and to help simplify tasks so that a user could make the most informed decision. For example, once you begin your search, Bing has an Autosuggest feature that recommends words based on the first few letters you type, and then lists them for you to choose if one should meet your match. The objective is to organize searches in ways that are easy for users to navigate. BING also has an Explore Pane – located on the left side of the home and results pages, this is intended to help users efficiently browse through their search results.
Could Bing Ever Overtake Google in Search?
That is a tough argument and the reasons are pretty logical i.e., search technology is the bread and butter for Google so they will always remain ahead of the GAME. However, mobile adoption is the future of search and Microsoft has been very instrumental in integrating the BING search engine with its vast network of assets.
Moreover, competition is a major motivator for innovation, and the search engine market has also become unpredictable. If we compare the kind of search results we get from Google versus BING, we can clearly see that it is almost the same. So, though GOOGLE has been around for quite a while and it dominates the search market, we could never be sure about the future if compared with BING.
We generally here stories about technology start-ups and innovative new ventures coming from the USA or Canada. Around the world people look for inspiration from companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and Groupon. There is a notion that the western countries are the only breeding ground for successful start-ups, but wait till you look down south. According to recent research, Australia has a lot to offer when it comes to introducing innovative start-ups and funding technology ventures.
Here are the top 10 Aussie start-ups to watch for:
99design: Officially launched in the year 2007, 99design is a spin-off from the popular Melbourne based website SitePoint. It is an online marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design. In the year 2011, the founders managed to raise investment in the form of $35 million in venture capital funding from Accel Partners. By-far the most talked about start-up in Australia.
Bigcommerce: Founded in 2009, it is an e-commerce platform for growing businesses that helps them easily launch professional online stores. With USD $75m behind it, from former top AOL execs Steve Case and Ted Leonsis, and a client list of over 50,000 online stores in 65 countries, this Australian start-up is soon headed to be the next major tech IPO.
Atlassian: A Sydney-based enterprise software company that develop customized products for software developers and project managers. Atlassian currently serves over 25,000 customers globally, and its clients include Cisco, Twitter, Infor, Audi, and NASA. As of August 2013, the company has 600+ employees with Facebook vice-president Jay Parikh and former Symantec chief executive Enrique Salem on its board of directors.
Pepperstone: It is the second most famous Australian FinTech startup after OzForex. It is more like an online retail foreign exchange broker specializing in foreign exchange trading. With the company headquartered in Melbourne, it is ranked one of the top 10 forex brokers globally, based on notional volume traded per month. As per recent reports, Pepperstone is soon headed for an IPO.
Nimble: It offers consumer-friendly short-term borrowing options to small businesses in Australia. They offer online loans service which offers quick loans of up to $1,200 in a matter of few minutes. With a fast application process and the latest smart technology Nimble has already written 418,000 loans. The Nimble software not only checks traditional credit risk data sources for its risk assessments, it also scours the web to cross-check with other data sources before approving a loan.
Shoes of Prey: Started in 2009 by Michael Fox, Jodie Fox and Michael Knapp, Shoes of Prey is a global, multi-channel retail brand that enables shoppers to design their own shoes online. Their objective is to change the way women wear shoes. Using the Shoes of Prey 3D DESIGNER customers choose the shape, colour and height of their shoes. All the shoe designs are handmade within five weeks and delivered free worldwide via DHL.
OneShift: An online recruitment matchmaking service that directly matches job seekers with employers for one-off shifts, casual, part time and permanent work. Founded by Gen George on a simple wordpress platform in June 2012, OneShift recently secured a $5 million investment from recruitment company Programmed.
Pocketbook: Founded by Alvin Singh and Bosco Tan in 2012, Pocketbook is an online resource to help people manage their personal spending without any efforts. The application helps you aggregate all your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and bills. Pocketbook is available on the web, iOS and Android. The tool offers a single consolidated snapshot of your spending and automatically syncs all of your bank transactions into a single easy-to-read page.
Kinderloop: Founded by two busy parents, Dan Day and Dan Walker. They didn’t like the fact that that they were missing out parts of their children’s lives while they were at preschool. Kinderloop is more of online tool that connects preschools with parents. Their mission is to make it easy and fun for preschools and care providers to capture special moments in their care and have an informed and engaged community of parents, all centered around kids.
Vinomofo: Australia’s largest wine retailer, Vinomofo is ranked 13th in Deloitte’s Fast 500 Asia Pacific listing of companies in 2013. After selling the business to The Catch Group in 2012, the founders bought back the company in June and have since have seen a business growth 30% month-on-month.
Have you ever wondered what does the word “viral” mean? Have you ever thought what might go into creating a so called “viral phenomenon”? Is it an act or some form of information flowing through a network?
To explain it in simple terms it’s more of a pattern (or object) that has the ability to replicate its own copies, more like a chain reaction. This is a common way to describe how thoughts, information and trends move into and through a human population. In a business context this “pattern” is referred to as CONTENT.
Marketing departments of businesses try to create such “patterns” or content that has the ability to go Viral. This generally falls under two categories – entertaining & useful. Something that has a unique blend of both these elements is an ideal form of VIRAL content.
Your content could be an article, a video, marketing collateral, a photograph, an info-graphics or simply a piece of news. Unlike traditional marketing and advertising content, there are certain attributes of typical viral material. Here are some important elements of viral content:
Keep it positive, real and simple: Any form of content that creates a positive effect has more probability of going viral. Stuff that makes us feel good about ourselves and the people around us. The content should be real i.e. it should appear realistic and believable. Also, any material that is confusing to understand or comprehend is generally ignored. The most viewed, talked about and shared content is anything that is simple to understand.
The SHOCK factor: Your content should have the “awe” effect i.e. it should simply be remarkable. It should be something that people haven’t seen before and can’t resist commenting on. This could be in the form of a video, a research article, or it can also be something as simple as an exhaustive list of some useful resources or tips.
Appreciation and recognition through association: This is by far the most important attribute of viral content. When people share or talk about your content they would expect appreciation and recognition for it. A user who shares content will want to be recognized both as the person who discovered it and the person who introduced others to it.
Sharing is Caring: Any form of content created should be made share-able. With the advent of social media, it’s important to keep in mind that your material should have the option of sharing i.e. it should have buttons that allow it to be shared on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg etc. These social media platforms have become the hotspots for viral content. A simple retweet or a “LIKE” could get tremendous amount of traction to your content.
Last but not the least; we should never forget that we need to STAMP and brand the content. The creator of the content should get due visibility, and its best done when you do it subtly at the end. Things like a quick mention about your business or brand in your article, photograph, video or info-graphic, go a long way in creating awareness about your business.
Talking about Ping.fm – it is a free social networking and micro-blogging web service that enables users to post to multiple social networks simultaneously.
Ping.fm was created with the intent of making it as easy as possible to post updates to multiple social networking sites simultaneously. The idea came about when creators were updating status messages with micro-blogging sites Twitter and Tumblr. The idea of posting exactly the same information in two places seemed a bit tedious, so Ping.fm was born.
Making an update on Ping.fm pushes the update to a number of different social websites at once. This allows individuals using multiple social networks to update their status only once, without having to update it in all their social media individually. Ping.fm groups services into three categories – status updates, blogs, and micro-blogs – and updates can be sent to each group separately.