Social Networks - A Key Element of the Social Web

Any Company marketing its products and services cannot afford to ignore or keep away from the Social Networks and Social Web. The fact that people on the social networks are talking and sharing information about products and services makes it imperative for Companies to participate.

Social Networks are great platforms for individuals to participate and converse freely with others of similar interest.

Social networks consist of individuals as well as communities that have common interest. This is an important interest group as far as marketers are concerned. Though they may not be addressing the entire mass at a given time like they do through traditional media, here the participants make up for specific community of people as well as individuals.

When individuals are conversing with one another, sharing their likes, dislikes as well as their experiences, they are not only talking about their life’s experiences, but a significant part of what ever they have purchased, reviewed, seen or experienced in terms of product and services also form a part of the discussion. If they are discussing about a certain product or service, then it becomes important for that particular Company to be listening as well as participating in order to add to the discussion, to clarify or to substantiate its stand etc.

To be able to develop communication strategy for Social Web, it is important to understand all of the components, tools as well as the various networks and the participants in particular. Understanding of the participant’s expectations, behavior as well as requirements gives one a clue as to how to communicate with the audience.

One of the key aspects of understanding the various elements of the Social Web would be to understand and go through the various Social Networks.

Social Networks form a part of the Social Web and refer to communities and platforms that interact with several other communities and groups and thus interact over a wider social network. Individuals who frequent Social Networks do not limit themselves to being a part of any one or two communities. They like to be a part of wider network and subscribe to several networks of interest.

Social web consists of several types of networks. Most importantly you have the communities that exist purely for the purpose of socializing and entertainment while you also have the communities that are specific to business or certain profession etc. It would be very useful for all to review Facebook as well as Myspace and Twitter, the leading Social networks and study them.

There are several country specific social networks that are popular and accordingly it would be apt to choose the local social networking sites too as a part of study along with few of the global networking sites. You will be able to see the variety and depth of information that they provide to the members as well as the wide coverage of subscriber base that they enjoy.

It is important to understand the service offering as well as the volume of traffic, the pulse of the participants as well as have a look at how business communities are targeting the members on these Social Networks.

Apart from the above Social Networks, it is important to visit few of the business related Social Networks like Linkedin, Plaxo Plus etc would be the most important ones that can provide substantial information about how the communities network and function.

It makes sense to study these in detail and see how the other businesses are targeting the audience on these sites, what kind of communication style is being adapted etc.

End of the study, one should be able to differentiate between Social sites and Business Sites, understand the difference between the communities and participants and be able to identify the strategy ideal to advertise or market to each of these communities.

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