Archive for the ‘ Online Social Networks ’ Category

Young Online Start Ups – recent insight

the revenue models associated with online social networks are undefined. i have been involved in the start up of an online community www.capetownalive.co.za – well involved behind the scenes. which actually put me in quite an interesting position, where i was able to view the business as a whole objectively, whilst having direct access to all information and people running the business.it is always a lot easier to look at something from the outside and give ideas, direction & strategic input, than when you are so involved in the day to day running or specifically to online, product development and content management, that more than often you lose sight of the broader vision, and why you are there in the first place.

through continuous observation i came across a couple of things i found left unattended, yet forms the platform of the business as whole. i can understand why this happens, especially in small start ups, where role definitions are unclear and one person is often assigned to several job descriptions.

during the start up of a business i do agree that the most important thing is about getting things done, implementing ideas – but without clear vision, business objectives, short and long term goals, and well defined brand image, how do you make decisions? and without research and market analysis how do you position yourself?, and without involving your consumers to some extent, how do you ensure desirable product development? And of course without systems and processes, even just really basic ones like regular meetings with updated status sheets, project management and timelines, how do you do any of the above?

Perhaps in the first week, everything is in order, but once the ball starts rolling the processes start becoming more difficult to sustain. So what is the solution – basic corporate governance from the start and organizing day to day business like a budget holiday – have fun and enjoy, but make sure everything is well planned,controlled and within budget to avoid getting stuck outside the most beautiful spot on earth with no money to go in:)

Back to online social networks – here it is even more complicated as you have members & clients & high levels of content management, hence the resources and time required to sustain the business is even more tied up. I am no expert, but one thing i have learned in a short period of time, is that with online social networks a clear differentiation needs to be made from the start between clients and consumers, with equal focus on both segments during product development, marketing strategy, brand building and ofcourse – REVENUE MODELS! This basically means that everything is twofold – sales to members, and sales to clients, marketing of product to members, marketing of product to clients and marketing the business/brand as a whole, it is quite a challenging balance to maintain, but without, simply impossible to be successful in operation, not even to mention about delivering a competitive advantage.

Recently i have had a lot of random thoughts about the revenue models associated with online social networks, and my final conclusion is that the only way, or rather one way, of actually making money is to bridge the gap between on and offline. Events ofcourse is one, but beyond that – taking the much loved online brand and delivering offline sustainable products or services under the same brand. I still dont know why i have not been to invited to a facebook fashion show, or own a google gps, or had a quick visit to an online clothing store, or what about a bizcommunity business lounge?? I also dont know why i have not come across an online shopping mall? I have not quite figured it out yet, but i have a feeling i am on the right track…

This post is getting a bit long and random. Oh the inconsistency of it all, the changing colours of the rainbow of life, the brave feeling of letting go and the crystal clear vision of life when you young!

Social Media, A Strategic Love Affair

Biggest Influencers are your biggest fans

Not only do they know your product backwards, they worship it, they are the best people to sell the brand for you. Ofcourse still be selective, you also need the right type of fans

The Power of Online Social Media

The value of communication in any influencers’ strategy is uncountable. You have to make use of the most relevant medium of communication – phonecalls and sms are annoying, really annoying. Emails have the wrong association – work.  Personal interaction  – cant be on a regular basis – bit too close to home. Social Media is the only way communication becomes an actual two-way dialogue. Its main advantage is that it provides you with a platform where the consumer gets to choose. And the beauty of advanced targeting analysis tools online, is that they work best in social media. Where you can build a brand online first, quick and cost effective, and once introduced into the real world, still maintain the online platform for continuous communication. A platform now already a home to many, just works better. Brand Building Opportunities in a world where the consumer really is king – as they partially developed it – is refreshingly effective. An excellent product brand alignment strategy.

Start an online community – even just a blog at first if investment capital levels are relatively low.
Think IdeaBounty meets TalphaCreative. Think TV meets Telephone.

Research

I did my thesis on a similar concept explored in a mass market. A lot easier to capitalize on community influence, especially when the predominant culture is the Ubuntu culture. One of the stronger cultural influences is collectivism. The power of the individual in product choice is vital. The power of collectivism in communication is just as important.

In a world made up of the bottom of the pyramid,a single social improvement has more impact than 1000 different aspirations. A memory made in reality is worth more than just another empty promise. The collectivism in communication is actually poor logic. The reason why people advertise on Television. However, the part so often left forgotten is the choice of communication. You cant possibly speak to me the way you speak to everyone else, perhaps a select few but definitely not the entire country.
Collective Communication in an online world is even easier. No one way TV screen, but a real time I choose when because you are always there and plenty of cool stuff to do so that I want to come back all the time to come and explore. I actually prefer using email & internet applications to communicate on my mobile phone as I get to choose when, how long and about what I feel like communicating.

The standard one-way message becomes less of a message but a conversation, simply a consumer push strategy.

I am falling more and more in love with Social Media