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Tuesday, 30th August 2011 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Jan Knight

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Where are the growth areas in social media? Do employees in larger companies post to social media more than those in smaller companies? What’s the ratio of employees to postings? Are people tiring of social media or are there still opportunities?

All of these questions and more are addressed in the writings of Jeremiah Owyang, Silicon Valley Social Media Industry Analyst for Altimeter Group. In the fall of 2010 I cited his research on how social analytics and social insights were areas of opportunity for business growth in this industry. It appears that another possible area of growth is in social media management systems (SMMS).

Social media management systems are described as a “collection of procedures used to manage workflow in a disparate social media environment”. Basically a single tool allows a user to publish to, and manage, multiple social media outlets.

A user can publish from one location to another (e.g. Facebook to LinkedIn) and may also have the ability to customise each posting. Often the tool offers aggregated data providing some sort of analytics to determine what’s working. Here's a list of SMMS.

While there are opportunities for growth and investment in these types of companies and tools, there are also challenges. One problem is that companies are having trouble differentiating themselves and it’s easy for a client company to switch from one to another.

In fact one of the threats to the industry is that new ventures can jump in relatively quickly. On the opportunity side, though, demand can increase as companies add more official social media accounts to their marketing mix and so far there are only about 30 main vendors working in this space. A discussion of market demand for these services and six market drivers has been published by ReadWriteWeb.com and cites drivers ranging from strategy to regulatory issues as being important.

Another recent article by Owyang on employee usage of “official” social media accounts focuses on usage and notes that on average one out of 330 employees posts on official accounts and companies with fewer employees have a higher ratio with more employees publishing. This is attributed to the likelihood of a more flexible culture, fewer regulatory concerns and less red tape.

Earlier this month Tim Buckley Owen wrote about “social media fatique” and noted that businesses that increasingly rely on such media for marketing and promotional activity need to be prepared for change. It does appear that change is evident in all areas of social media - whether it’s the who, when, how or why.


 

About this item:



Jan Knight is an independent market research consultant and President of Bancroft Information Services. She provides customised business intelligence and secondary market research to consultants and companies in all industries. Her work helps to shape business plans, marketing strategies and new business development for a diverse set of clients including start-ups, technology companies, marketing strategists, and small and medium businesses.

She is a frequent presenter on market research topics at the Arizona Center for Innovation, the Technology Business Incubator associated with the University of Arizona in Tucson. Jan holds an MA in Information Resources & Library Science from the University of Arizona, and a B.A. in Renaissance/Humanities Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Originally from England, Jan moved to Tucson in 1984 and has worked in both the advertising/marketing and publishing industries before starting her own business in 2001.

Jan can be reached at jan.knight@freepint.com

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