- An examination into the emergence of the internet’s ‘social layer’ from the foremostSEO company France.
- Mid November and the message being given at the annual web 2.0 summit in San Francisco is one of revolution. No longer can companies idly sit by and simply optimise content, across the internet a new ‘social layer’ is upon us and only the socially enlightened businesses, willing to apply social features to the core of their marketing plans will survive.
It’s Not What You Know but Who You Know
Standing centre stage at this year’s summit for web revolutionaries is el capitano himself, Mark Zuckerburg, founder and chief executive of Facebook. Whilst announcing Facebook’s new ‘next-generation messaging service’ that could in future take the place of email, Zuckerburg put forward the opinion that a social version of any product already in existence online will always win out.
Using the beginning of online photo-sharing, Zuckerburg gave the example of Flickr (a Yahoo-owned photo-sharing service). To begin with Flickr enjoyed a lot of success and soon grew to be the largest and most popular of online photo-sharing portals. When Facebook came onto the scene however they very quickly took control of the market as they had the greater social network and tools to give users further interaction with content and distribution. In the next five years almost every product offered on the World Wide Web is going to be social, according to Zuckerburg.
MySpace, the troubled social media site that tried and failed to compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter is set for an image over haul. Mike Jones the chief executive of the troubled site spoke a couple of weeks ago at the annual Monaco Media Forum in an interview with the Daily Telegraph about his plans for the site; ‘An entertainment destination which takes the power of the web and applies it to content in a highly interactive way’.
A clear message is being heard, harness social and your product has a fighting chance. Businesses should organise their site socially and not by category or product. For example go to an online winter sports shop and select the site’s page for ‘snowboards’ on offer. You will be presented with a selection of snowboards in many sizes, colours and brands, what the likes of Zuckerburg and Jones are saying is wouldn’t it be more valuable or at least more interesting to see what snowboards your friends or people with similar interests had chosen, liked or bought. This is what Zuckerburg meant when he said every product online would soon be social.
Further still what if when you set a search engine in motion with a query the results were not just organised by relevance but by social resonance. Searches could provide you with a list of answers and a picture of your friend appearing adjacent to the link they had previously clicked on or found useful when searching for the same answer or product.
Stepping back with a clear head it is probably apparent to many that these may very well be the dreams of people like Zuckerburg and Jones. The vast majority of us and businesses alike are not yet on the same page and it is a far cry from preaching to the ‘digitally converted’ at web summits to converting regular users of the web. So how do these social beginners take their firsts steps to social enlightenment?
For years even if it hasn’t been obvious selling a product socially online has been around. Offline, recommendations or referrals from friends or colleagues’ have sent buyers to a businesses’ website and in turn contributed to sales. More recently businesses have set about attracting followers or friends on social forums by creating an interactive social presence which could in turn lead to further on-site sales. However, as yet few businesses have attempted to utilize the full power of social to their websites.
Mark Jones says “The sites which will win are those that really understand what social means and build their websites around it”. Early glimmers of this social revolution are already becoming apparent with features such as Facebook’s ‘Connect’ Service or Twitter’s ‘ReTweets’. These standard syndicated authentication services are the first steps into developing an online social consciousness that could in future lead to full website interaction.
Whilst optimising a website is obviously fundamental to a successful online business a rising concern for many comapanies is how to become truly social. It is no longer enough to rely on open interfaces like RSS that gives the customer a constant stream of information from their chosen site, or the likes of Facebook or Twitter that will eventually play a fundamental role in the new ‘social layer’ changing the way we use the web.
The Early Bird Catches the Worm
Businesses and SEO companies now must look to integrate the social philosophy and tools of sites such as Facebook and apply them to their own websites and brand image. Mark Pincus, founder and chief executive of the social gaming site, Zynga, knows the benefits of investing early in social networks. In this way Pincus built a whole new social business on the coat tails of Facebook’s success.
Speaking recently Pincus believes that we are only just realising the true potential of social interaction on the web. That soon the internet will offer more to culture and society than previously seen. “The stage of the web is social. Every business, both online and off, needs to offer a social element and something fun. We live our lives online now”.
So the message coming out of Silicon Valley is simple, look to improve you businesses website socially and you might just be around for the next generation of online users and buyers.