Convergence is king
It’s not just what you say, it’s where and how you say it. Technological convergence is bringing together the traditionally disparate elements of the way an audience digests its information. Newspapers and books are now freely available on the same devices as we access blogs, podcasts, videos and technical papers.
Take a look at these jaw-dropping statistics:
- Apple’s iPad sold three million units in 80 days, and is now expecting to sell 4.5million every quarter.
- Earlier this year Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that six ebooks are sold by the website for every 10 traditional books.
- Social networks attracted more internet traffic in May than search engines, accounting for 11.9 per cent of UK internet visits.
- There are 640 tweets uploaded to the Twitter website every second.
- By January this year Apple had sold more than 42 million iPhones.
- Samsung, Dell, Microsoft and RIM (of Blackberry fame) are just some of the companies working on, or selling, their own tablet computers.
- LinkedIn has over 50 million users worldwide.
- More than 65 million users access Facebook via a mobile device.
Each of the products or services mentioned did not exist ten years ago. Facebook launched in 2004, the iPhone was launched in 2007 and the iPad was launched this year. The first Kindle was launched in 2007, and Twitter was founded in 2006. LinkedIn launched in 2003.
In such a short space of time it is incredible how much technology and social media have changed our personal and professional lives. We can choose when, how and where we would like to receive the information that interests us, and we can filter out the rest. This is an incredible tool for businesses to tap into.
Let’s dispel a common notion right now – social media is not just for the young. Many businesses still make the mistake of thinking that the internet is mainly used by young people to keep in touch with friends. This is simply not the case. Take a look around in an airport departure lounge. It will be adults you see working on an iPad or flicking through an ebook reader.
Technology is not cheap, and while it is often teenagers who come up with the ideas in the first place (Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room at 20) and who are the early adopters, much of the tech and the social media services are becoming the preserve of adults.
Monitoring service Pingdom took 19 different social media sites and studied the age ranges of users. The results make interesting reading: 25 per cent of users on these sites are aged 35-44. The average social network user is 37, the average age of a user of LinkedIn is 44, Twitter 39, Facebook 38, MySpace 31, and Bebo 28.
The traditional methods of communicating with our audiences are not dead, they are simply expanding. The statistics above show that most users of the largest social media websites are not teenagers. They are, instead, the ideal target audience for many of the companies Freshfield comes into contact with.
But there is still a reticence by many to get their hands dirty. To become involved in social media is a double-edged sword; a misplaced comment on Twitter or a badly timed joke on a YouTube video can have a disastrous effect on business.
But marketing strategies today simply must tap into these platforms, or risk missing a vast chunk of the potential audience. Social media and the convergence of technology is making it easier to communicate directly with interested parties.
There is no art to social media, and nobody can yet class themselves as experts – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It takes a lot of research and planning, and a good solid strategy – much like any area of business. However, the rewards can be vast.