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Tag Archives | social networking

By Graham Jones on 23rd January 2015

Being “on” a social network is not the same as using it

It is highly likely that you have a profile on at least one social network. You probably have a profile on at least one of Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. You may also have a Twitter account and maybe an account with Instagram. Indeed, most people have more than one social network profile.

But there is a world of difference between having a social network profile and using that social network.

Whenever I run a workshop for business leaders I ask “are you on LinkedIn?” These days, everyone raises their hand. “Excellent news,” I say, “that means everyone here is on the main business network. So how many of you have used LinkedIn during the past seven days?”

Most of the hands go down; often, nobody in the room has actually “used” LinkedIn. They are there just as passengers on the network, not taking any kind of active part – and wondering at the same time what the point of their LinkedIn profile is.

Google+_screenshot

Now, a new study of the usage of Google+ has found similar – shocking – results.

According to the research, there are 2.2bn Google+ accounts but only around 5m of these are active, posting information that isn’t just a comment on a YouTube video.

In other words 99.8% of people on Google+ are NOT using it.

That tallies with my ad-hoc measurement of people using LinkedIn – the vast majority of people simply have a profile and do nothing with it.

The social networks themselves can point to billions of people who have an account. But having an account and using it are not the same thing.

Businesses are still trying to understand how they can use social networks to increase sales and profits. The problem would appear to be that these businesses seem to think that all you have to do is create a profile and customers will come running to you.

Like most other things in business you get as much out of something as you put in. If all you put in to your social network is your profile, that’s all you will get out.

If you want to make the most of Google+ or LinkedIn you have to put more in. It means adding to the network on a regular basis, taking part in conversations and engaging with people. If you do that, you will get sales and new business leads. If you don’t do that you may as well go down to the corner of your street and whistle into the wind. It will do you as much good as simply having a profile on a social network.

Social

By Graham Jones on 19th January 2015

Social networking means you can “catch” stress

There is increasing evidence that as we use more and more online technology we are becoming more and more obsessed by it. The proportion of people who constantly check their mobile phones for messages or posts from friends is increasing at an alarming rate. Indeed, people are so keen to think they are being communicated with that the majority of phone users receive “phantom buzzes“. This is where they think their phone has vibrated, but it hasn’t; their mind is so geared up to wanting a message it is inventing them all on its own.

Theoretically, this could be linked to stress. The less we feel in control and the more that technology controls us, the more likely we are to be stressed.

There is some evidence that increasing technology use is indeed linked to stress. However, a recent study has revealed an interesting connection between our use of social media technology and our likelihood of having stress.

The research conduced by Pew Internet found that on the whole social networking did not lead to any particular degree of stress. We appear to be taking all the interruptions “in our stride”.

Problems do appear to arise, however, when we see other people online exhibiting stress. We can detect stress in their comments, the images they post and so on.

It turns out that when we see other people showing signs of stress online, we are much more likely to become stressed ourselves.

In other words you can exhibit stress simply because you read something from someone else who is stressed.

Stress is contagious – you can catch it from social networking.

Indeed, for years it has been thought that stress is passed on. In a variety of social settings where anxiety is shown by a small number of people, the surrounding people can increasingly show anxiety. You can witness this in crowd situations where a potential danger is noticed by one or two people, with the anxiety spreading throughout the group. The notion that mood can be passed on from one person to another is nothing new.

However, what this new study shows is that the stress can be passed on through an intermediary – a social network. You no longer need to be present with another person to “catch” their stress or anxiety – you can get it from what they post online.

So what does this mean for us, as users of social networks? It suggests that they are increasing our vulnerability to stress. We are exposing ourselves to a greater likelihood of some kind of stress trigger from the negative emotions of others we engage with online.

Given that stress is linked to fatal conditions such as heart disease and cancer it means that preventing and dealing with stress in our lives is probably more important now than it has ever been in our history.

What does this mean from a practical sense? It means that perhaps we need to set a routine for social media in our lives – looking at it just a few times a day, but not being obsessed by it and checking the networks every five minutes or allowing “notifications” of messages. In other words, we need to manage social networks more, before they manage us.

Internet Psychology

By Graham Jones on 10th November 2014

Social traffic becomes more polarised in a year

Less traffic comes from multiple social networks – Facebook now dominates

A year ago people shared things online in several places – indeed they still do. You could share this article on Twitter for instance, or LinkedIn, or Facebook. Some people will share this article in all three places. However research on 200,000 websites with significant visitor traffic shows that over the past 12 months the amount of traffic coming from shared content on the vast majority of social networks has fallen.

Infographic: Facebook Dwarfs Competition in Terms of Referral Traffic | Statista

The amount of traffic from shared content on Facebook has more than doubled in the past year. Yet on almost every other one of the main social networks, the amount of traffic has fallen. Pinterest stands out because it is now the second most common place for social traffic – dwarfing even Twitter. The only other social network to have seen an increase is Google+ which has almost doubled the amount of traffic from its network. The problem is, very little traffic came from Google+ in the first place, so it is a doubling of very little, which is still tiny. Indeed, the amount of traffic from Google+ is 320 times less than the amount from Facebook.

This study is fascinating as it shows that online social referral traffic is becoming polarised. People are clearly seeing Facebook as THE place to share things, resulting in all those additional visits to linked websites. Twitter is fast becoming an “also-ran” in the social traffic stakes.

What does this mean for your business? It suggests that if you want your business to get traffic from social sites you have got to make your content  interesting to people who use Facebook.

And what do they find interesting? They want funny stuff, entertaining material or content that has high emotion. It means that what you might call “ordinary” business content is not going to get shared on Facebook and so your social traffic is going to be tiny. If people are seeing Facebook as the place to share, that is only going to benefit businesses if they make their content “Facebook friendly”.

Note too, that the dramatic rise in Pinterest traffic means that unless your website has great imagery which can be shared, that outlet is also not open to you.

In short, this new research means that if you want to benefit from online social media traffic you need to write material that is different, emotionally engaging and light – not boring old stuffy dry business material. And when you have got your copy right it needs illustrating with images people want to share.

In other words, this new research doesn’t tell us much new. Your website will only get social media traffic if you have great copy and excellent images.

Social

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