Social Networks - Very Powerful Tools
Social Networks for the Entertainment Industry
As described on Wikipedia, social networks are:
Online services, platforms, or websites that focus on facilitating the building of social networks or social relations among people who, for example, share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections. A social network service consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services.
Organizations that take advantage of these networks have the opportunity to reach a greater audience than those using relying on "old school" advertising models, like paid search or email blasts.
In terms of your target market, we'll discuss "profiles" which are simply user accounts set up at online services such as Facebook, Yelp, MySpace, etc. who reach their own audience of "friends" who have similar interests. Facebook has helped connect high school/college classmates, Yelp reaches a wide range of users interested in local restaurant and entertainment reviews.
If a business can elicit the "recommendation" of a single individual, the business has an opportunity to expand their reach when the individual's "friends" see those recommendations. If the cycle repeats itself enough, you can create large networks of people who are interested in learning more about your organization. This is the key to social networks. Unlike the old email blasts of the past when an organization's email might be considered an unwelcome intruder, the effectiveness of social networks lies in the fact that users have chosen to follow your organization's activities. This is a receptive audience waiting to hear more!
A social network is a web site that enables like minded people to interact and share information by way of user profiles. A profile reflects a user's various interests such as music, interest groups, professional affiliations, and pictures. The fast growing social network communities offer great opportunities to reach unlimited amounts of consumers.
Facebook launched in February of 2004. It has since gained enormous popularity and now boasts over 400 million users. Facebook's target audience is geared more towards the adult, rather than a youth, demographic.
Consider the following Facebook statistics:
- 850 million users.
- More than 1.5 million local business have active Facebook pages.
- Average user has 130 friends.
- Average users spends 55 minutes per day on Facebook.
- Average user is invited to 3 events per month.
- More than 5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blogs, posts, notes, photo albums, etc.), shared each week.
- More than 3.5 billion events created each month
- Estimated average user age is 38 years old.
|"Facebook has surged past Yahoo as the number two most popular site in the U.S., drawing nearly 134 Million Unique Visitors in January, 2010." Compete, Feb 18, 2010|
Twitter is a social network that enables users to send short 140 character messages called “Tweets”. Tweets are text-based posts displayed on the author's profile page and they are delivered to anyone subscribing or “Following” your account.
- Twitter was launched in 2006 and currently has over 75 million users.
- 50 Million Tweets per day, or 600 tweets per second.
- Estimated average user age is 39.
Yelp is a social network that provides its users with local business search capabilities and reviews. Each business listing result contains a five point rating and reviews from other site users. Users help keep site information up to date, and business owners are also allowed to directly update their own listings.
Yelp's combination of user reviews with social network functionality create a reputation system in which users seek other users based on similar interests, membership longevity, and popularity. Yelp's “First to Review” reward system encourages competition amongst contributing members, further expanding the site's business reach.
- Yelp was founded in 2004
- 10 million reviews
- 30 million visitors per month
- 270,000 business are currently reviewed by Yelp
How Can My Venue Take Advantage of Social Networks?
It is easy to recognize the value Social Networks bring to your venue, but you must develop a "Plan of Action" in order to successfully take full advantage of all they have to offer.
1. Define Your Venue's Goals It is important to have a clear idea of your goals, and expectations. Many books and articles have been authored on social networks, but the best strategy is one created by you and customized to the unique needs of your venue.
You can start by identifying the following:
What is important your venue, and why? How will having a Social Network presence help you in relation to what you feel is important to your venue? What quantifiable goals can be measured to determine the success of your efforts?
2. Define and Implement Your Strategy Once you have identified your venue's goals, you can start developing and implementing your strategy. Keep in mind that your efforts should be geared towards each specific Social Network, as you would not target Facebook users in the same manner that you would Twitter users. We recommend that you get familiarized with each one of the social networks. Look up other venues similar to your own – what are they posting to FaceBook? What are they tweeting about? Having an in depth knowledge of each website's policies and best practices will better prepare you to target them successfully.
3. Measure Your Success It is important to be able to tangibly measure the success of your efforts. Your venue's goals can range from simply generating more exposure to increasing event ticket sales. There are many free and easy-to-use tools such as Google Analytics, which allow you to monitor and analyze your web traffic like the top pages read and search key phrases. Understanding your web traffic will allow you to create better targeted ads and help empower your marketing initiatives.
The ThunderTix team recognizes the value and importance of Social Networks and the potential impact they can have on your venue. Our development department is currently working on modules that will allow us to easily integrate our online ticketing system with Social Networks. Check back on our site for updates! Or better yet, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
We have written numerous blog posts on the value of social networks to your business and we recommend you subscribe to our blog's RSS feed to stay up to date with the newest tip, tricks and best practices!