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A Social Way Of Doing Business

10th January 2011
A tale of success from a client who was persuaded to start networking from his own desk.

One of our clients recently asked us “Why are we constantly being told to get our business on Friendface?”.

Having politely held off from tittering at their unwitting reference to The IT Crowd (the Channel 4 comedy in which the two lead characters, a pair of IT technicians, talk about ‘Friendface’ as their spoof social networking portal), we discretely pointed the conversation in the direction of Facebook, and threw in other vogue communications devices such as media-favourite Twitter, slightly unknown quantities like Foursquare and the odd-but-influential LinkedIn.

The client, being of a certain age, wasn’t the most likely candidate to tweet or tag, but slowly began to understood our explanations, and after initial reluctance, accepted our offer to help set up a Facebook account in his name and an accompanying page for his business, whilst also creating a Twitter account which could be linked to the former for ease of updates. We left him to his own devices on Foursquare and LinkedIn but didn’t hear of any disasters!

Slightly muddled at first with the concept of seeking out friends and acquaintances via his Facebook account, our client was hooked within half an hour, and took great delight in discovering that his e-mail contacts book could be used to locate long lost friends who also happened to have accounts – not least those who turned out to have posted some otherwise forgotten photos of school trips from the 1970s; greasy hair, leather jackets, flared jeans and all. In no time, over 30 friends were amassed in all continents of the globe, and it was all we could do to get him to log off by the end of the meeting.

But there was a more serious side to our thinking. Over 600m use Facebook worldwide, with the best part of 200m using Twitter – posting 65m tweets daily for good measure. Assuming some use Facebook, others use Twitter and a middling group spend all day on both, that’s a target audience of anywhere between 600m and 800m for your company if you sign up to one or both options.

One second tier English football club we have spoken to – relatively new to Facebook with around 3,000 ‘Likes’ to their name – estimate that they’ll rake in an extra £100,000 this season, purely through the revenue they’ll generate through promoting club shop products via their page on Mark Zuckerberg’s remarkable creation.

Comedian Jimmy Carr’s first attempt to gather friends on Facebook was such a success that he had to create a second identical account to cope with everyone who wanted to befriend him – he has barely played a gig without the ‘sold out’ signs since.

And for those who prefer the 140 character possibilities of Twitter, they can type away in the knowledge that the press are waiting to hang off every syllable. The lives of celebrity Twitter users such as Lady Gaga, Barack Obama and Britney Spears are re-transcribed letter for letter in every tabloid in the land (and a good few broadsheets too) as they take the crude abbreviations and unusual syntax as a seemingly credible replacement for a genuine quote from the horse’s mouth.

Eager not to miss out, our client set up his own page, requesting ‘Likes’ from his recent re-acquaintances initially, before spreading the word on a couple of related groups (within the limits of spamming) and offering a few cheap and cheerful free gifts as an incentive for the first sign-ups to respond to an off-the-cuff post one morning.

Take up was steady, and positive feedback started to seep back slowly but surely. However, the crowning moment was the day the first message arrived in the inbox stating: “I saw you on Facebook – can you supply me with..”. The first of what we hope will be many transactions that started via this channel!

Related Links:
Facebook – www.facebook.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com
Foursquare – www.foursquare.com
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com

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