[Source : www.instantshift.com]
When did technology begin? No one has the answer to that. However, people know that technology is constantly changing and the world is adapting to these changes. New firms are coming up with more innovative ideas and creativity is at its peak. Internet is the key element of the change in technology and has been the most affected factor so far.
From search engine optimization to social networking, technology is affecting anything and everything that is on the internet. The change brought internet to mobile phones and the current change in technology eased up the internet use on mobile phones. First, Nokia used to work on GPRS. Now, blackberry has an unlimited internet service. This is how these changes come and affect us in a blink of the eye. From politics to business and to economies, technology changes how everything operates and brings about a more efficient and effective way to do things.
What is Facebook All About?
Facebook is one of the biggest social networking sites on the internet used by millions of people in the entire world. It is an essential need for a lot of individuals out there. It is also one of the most typed links on the internet. Facebook and technology are co-related and have a direct relationship. Basically, technology was the element that brought Facebook in this world. Recently, the site has introduced a new news feed ticker as well as a new translation function. We can see that the site is including all the technological elements from outside, including the Bing powered translator, to stay pro-active to any potential changes in technology.
Statistics show that in 2010, there has been a 480% increase in the internet users in less than 11 years. Social networking is one of the parts of the internet and Facebook is the most visited social site. In 2009, the site had around 50 million users which went to more than 350 million users by 2011. The reason is that more and more people are using the internet now and social networking has become something essential for most of these people. Communication is easier than ever with the use of technology. Facebook is one of those sites that is looking for ways to improve the service so that it cannot be matched by any other potential social networking site. Orkut is a good example for this. The site failed to cope with the technology, and the result saw Facebook take over the entire social networking industry. Therefore, the site needs to adjust with frequent changes. The days when the most popular social networking site was just a site for posting on friends’ walls is long gone. Now, you can see a new Facebook. You can easily see the difference by comparing the Facebook, today with the Facebook that came out 6 years ago. The changes have been massive which led to a massive number of users. You can see advertisement options, brand pages, school and university pages/groups, promotional strategies and various other things on Facebook.The main thing that needs to be understood is that Facebook is no longer just for simple one-to-one communication. It has gone away from that. Now, businesses can interact with their customers, schools can interact with students and artists can interact with their fans. Campaigns can be launched and support can be gathered on Facebook. These are a lot of changes that have been made in several years and clearly, technology is playing a vital part in this.
You can see the increase in the number of users, from 2004 to 2010, in the graph above.
Let’s Focus on The SWOT Analysis of Facebook Now
Here is a Facebook SWOT analysis that will determine the potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
One of the weaknesses is that the site makes a lot of constant changes and people cannot adapt these changes. Initially, there was the normal wall feature which was used to interact with other users. However, this simple feature changed and a new wall appeared with photo previews and other additional options. It took time for people to adjust with this but in the end, all of them did. The new timeline has been the most controversial feature up till now and not many people are in favor of it. Basically, the wall has disappeared and there is a timeline which displays an individual’s history. Timeline, as the name suggests, shows what the user has been up to at different times on Facebook.Another problem is that there are massive advertisements which distract the users. Even though a lot of users have complained about these advertisements, this is not something that Facebook will look into.
One of the strengths is that it is a free and easy way of communication. All social networking sites offer an easy way of communication and Facebook is still one of the best ways to communicate with someone due to the activeness of users. Secondly, the target audience is massive. Facebook is available for everyone. There are certain sites which are specially designed for teens and others for businesses; however, Facebook targets everyone including adults, businessmen, teens and even children.
One of the opportunities is that the site can be a path for business surveys. Businesses need opinions from people in order to improve and Facebook is the perfect platform. The traditional way is to go for interviews but using Facebook means a cheaper and yet more effective way of finding out the preferences about potential customers. Also, Facebook can start buying and selling services similar to Ebay and Amazon. People on Facebook are doing it and with the massive technological improvements, Facebook can easily have its own store for selling goods and services. Apart from that, it can easily turn in to a global phone and address book. The number of people who are on Facebook is massive and not only do they have accounts, but they are active on the site. The wide audience can lead to Facebook becoming the ultimate world phone and address book.
Facebook also has several threats as well. One of these is competition as new social networking sites are setting up. It is already facing competition from twitter and now Google Plus. Another potential threat might be boredom due to low quality applications. Application development on Facebook has been poor and the site needs to focus on creating high quality applications for users. Lastly and most importantly, there are privacy threats. This is probably the biggest threat as there have been problems before and people are still facing privacy issues. One of the major privacy problems is the photos being leaked of different individuals.
But how is technology changing the way Facebook operates?
The effect of technology on the social networking site has been tremendous. Many still don’t believe how everything changed from what it used to be. You can literally see people promoting their products on Facebook.
Business Use and Advertising
Online selling and promotion and E-business has not been this easier before. To get a target audience was the most difficult thing back then. With the use of Facebook, millions of users are directly targeted for marketing purposes. Businesses have been one of those groups that have been most affected by Facebook. They have seen a lot of new options for growth and promotion using the social networking site. Literally, every multinational company and every decent local firm will have an official page on Facebook. They need to have it! It’s a necessity if they want to stay in the market and to stay competitive for competitors. These businesses have benefited a lot using Facebook and they continue to see a rapid increase in their sales.
Promotion has been one of the key parts in which Facebook is most used. Basically, it is free advertising and targeting millions of people all around the world. What would this mean? Out of a million, at least some WILL be attracted to the service or the product. The promotion strategies used by the businesses include creating business pages, uploading pictures of the product, uploading videos, stating all the relevant information about the product on the page and online selling. You can see that the existing businesses keep on uploading pictures and introducing new products. They get several likes and comments on the Facebook page and hence, the mission gets successful, i.e. to attract potential customers. A lot of people gave seen businesses that have literally started on Facebook.
What are people selling on Facebook?
There are a huge number of businesses doing so and several of these are T-shirt selling companies, home-made food sellers and even bakeries. Basically, what these new businesses do is that they start with an idea and then they make a Facebook page. Friends and relatives ‘like’ the page and this is how they get popularity. They upload several pictures of their products with the specific prices. The customer can then order the product. The most famous example is in cake baking. These home-made cakes are sold using Facebook and these individuals get to target an audience. It seems and is easy for these businesses to just set up these pages and upload decent pictures to attract potential customers. This guarantees them a decent number of customers.
How users spend 20 minutes on facebook (Facebook Statistics For 2011)
How Businesses Interact with Customers using Facebook
Not only, can the site be used to advertise and promote the products, it can also be used to interact with the customers. Facebook has seen a lot of multinational companies setting up their Facebook pages including giants like Blackberry, Sony and Nike. These are the companies that do not sell online using Facebook. You will never find people buying a genuine mobile phone using Facebook. However, there is another tactic that these multinationals use Facebook for. Every customer is loyal to the brand if he/she thinks that they have a certain say in the company’s product or if they think that the company values them. This basically means a Company to Customer relationship which is made easy by Facebook. This interaction used to be the major problem that was lacking in this field. However, technology, along with Facebook, has changed the entire foundation of this. The site has brought in a new technique for the companies to get potential customers as well as to make the existing customers more loyal. Even if the businesses do not implement what these customers say on Facebook, these people feel themselves to be important to the company is the firm replies to their wall posts or comments.
The New Facebook Polls
The new Facebook Polls have been really popular and these businesses are taking full advantage of it. These pages, which have hundreds and thousands of likes, start up several questions. For example Blackberry might ask ‘what do you think should be included in our next phone?’ Thousands of fans are likely to answer these questions with what they think should be included in the phone. This way, the company benefits by conducting a free survey and the fans feel that they are valued by the business. These businesses also regularly update their statuses. People like these statuses and comment on them. If the business replies back, then it shows that there is a relationship between the business and the customer. A good relationship between the 2 is a vital part in making an ordinary customer in to a loyal customer.
The site has also been used by politicians. 6 years back, no one knew that technology is going to help politicians in their campaigns. Today, you can clearly see the politicians update their supporters using the social networking site. Also, people confirm their attendance at different events by responding to the invitation of an event on Facebook. The Egypt revolution was one of the biggest revolutions in the world and Facebook and Twitter were the key elements. Basically, everyone used to be informed about several rallies on Facebook. Statuses were updated regarding the number of people who have actually showed up. Therefore, the social site was the biggest reason why the Egyptians could easily communicate with each other during the revolution.
What More to Expect?
Facebook has been widely used and will always be widely used if the people stay pro-active. Technology is one of the things that world cannot stop in this world. It will grow and there will be changes. It has changed the global world by making communication easier using social networking sites such as Facebook. It is, however, not just a sight for basic communication. It is used for other purposes as well. Facebook is the site which connects millions of users. The site is likely to take some opportunities in the future with newer technology. The latest video chat feature has been successful but who knows maybe a Facebook shop is in the works or maybe it’s turning into a global address book?
The site has affected the entire world from individuals to huge multinational companies. The billion dollar company keeps on changing the layout and the options on the site in an attempt to give better options and preferences to its users. With the use of technology, Facebook changes from time to time and bring about all the changes to rise up to the level. We have seen how people have been able to do things that they couldn’t even dream of using technological changes and with the use of social networking sites like Facebook. Businesses, politicians, groups and event organizers, all, use Facebook. This is the site that has made communication a lot easier and is going to make it even easier as we see the changes in technology. With Facebook, no one is alone anymore!
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