The rise of social media and the design of your website

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While your website may be up and running, the importance of social media cannot be ignored as it provides a low cost way of generating well qualified web traffic and interest in your business. To us, the term `social media` means websites with frequently updated, user-generated content such as Facebook, YouTube, Linked In, Blogger, Word Press and Twitter. Their potential to influence was demonstrated in three recent headline-grabbing stories.

The race for the Christmas No. 1

The ITV reality show X-Factor commands huge audiences and is popular with children, teenagers and adults alike. In the past few years the winner has always had the Christmas number one selling single until this year. A Facebook group was started with the aim of getting US rap metal band Rage Against the Machine`s song `Killing in the name` to Christmas No.1 instead.

There have been similar campaigns in the past – last year a group was set up to get Jeff Buckley`s classic version of `Hallelujah` to number 1 instead of the X-Factor winner`s version – but this group really seemed to chime with the public. Despite the massive publicity provided by the X-Factor, Rage Against the Machine made Christmas No. 1 quite easily in the end, outselling the X-Factor by over 50 000 copies. A simple Facebook group started for free, mobilised enough people to beat a multi million pound promotional machine that had previously thrashed all comers to the Christmas No.1.

Trafigura and Twitter

We`ll need to tread carefully here, but earlier this year oil trading company Trafigura got very heavy with any media considering reporting on cases of health problem emerging from the Ivory Coast where contaminated oil had been dumped. The Guardian and process industry magazine The Chemical Engineer received gagging orders from Trafigura`s libel lawyers preventing them from even mentioning the issue.

Trafigura`s various injunctions were rendered pointless when news leaked onto Twitter, various important political blogs and finally mainstream media.

More details here:

http://www.tcetoday.com/tcetoday/NewsDetail.aspx?nid=12188

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/may/13/trafigura-ivory-coast-documents-toxic-waste

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2009/oct/13/twitter-online-outcry-guardian-trafigura

Jan Moir and that Daily Mail article

Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir wrote an article about the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately that was at best ill informed but to many had homophobic undertones. Without social media the article would have slipped by unnoticed by the wider world, however people started discussing the article on Twitter and Facebook and the touch paper was lit.

The Mail`s website was deluged with negative comments, but significantly, major advertisers such as Marks and Spencer and Tesco had their banner advertising removed from the article on the Mail`s website.

See the facebook group here:  http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=151083562155&ref=ts

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/16/stephen-gately-jan-moir

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2009/oct/16/jan-moir-stephen-gately-facebook-twitter

Your business and social media

The power of social media to influence and spread information is something you can harness for your own business. Some example uses include the following:

  • Setting up a facebook group about your company, create events and send out invitations
  • Use twitter to remind people about new services, and link to updates on your website
  • Setup a YouTube channel with video footage of relevant services, key personnel talking about important subjects
  • Use a personal Linked In profile to update your contacts about your activities
  • Use ipadio to record and share audio updates from your mobile phone and share automatically on Facebook, Twitter and other social media

When you do take the plunge it`s important that you plan what you are going to say and your profiles are setup properly with appropriate branding. Also your main website should allow users to share on your website using services like AddThis.

Please see our social media page for links and more information.

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