Web 2.0 saw revolution which went on to change the political scenario, babies named after the giant ‘Facebook’ and to top it, marketers found answer to their long lasting query on ROI. They have changed the way people used to reach their prospects and more over countering business opportunity. Life is been more focused and even smaller, the phrase ‘world is small’ has more meaning to it now than before.
The closer analogy to social networking is of the iPhone ad which states “if you don’t have an iPhone you don’t have the apps….. and if you don’t have a iPhone, well you don’t have a iPhone”, which is (when applied to social networking) if you are not in one of the social networking sites, you are missing on the networking and to top it, today even recruiters have jumped into it, of course now it makes more sense to be in, then losing something.
Social networking today could be categorized into Business, Casual and Micro-blogging. We have seen good number of players moving into the space and making it big, and many of these are the pioneers, who have traced the path and been the part of the revolution, who are the leaders and category by itself. Competition now is becoming intense among the category leaders, and some renowned biggies who have tried and backed off are consistently trying to get in, to still carve a pie for themselves. The advantage with these biggies are, their application stack and power of innovation, which makes them prospective leaders only if, they crack the platform.
The battle lines are drawn and the success would be based on differentiation; which would be user interface, platforms, applications and engagement model. The leader would now have to be constantly on the drawing board and working on the differentiator model, as they would have to keep pace with new applications & concepts being developed using the existing model by the partners, in parallel ensuring the constant revenue streams from the existing model. The challenge now is on retaining the users and withstanding the migrations to newer platforms, which could be mouth watering.
The question which haunts every category leader, in different verticals, to answer on the differentiation, today hangs on to Social Networking Platform, as it is a successful model and others would definitely follow to cash in.The key here would be to stick on to User Engagement and Redefining Evangelism, which would mean drilling down to the levels of analyzing the database and bringing in the right kind of interface and application which could glue the user tightly to the platform, to the extent where the user feels incomplete without it. Like how the customer centricity brought the Social Networking into their business, today the same paradigm needs to be imbibing into their platform.
The essence lies on Social Networking Site being the one stop shop for a user, apart from just networking and being in touch. We have seen the progressions here too in terms of; communities, forums, skills, News, creating groups, pages and so on. This would have to move in a step into associating with user’s individual planning, which he/she would associate to and use it as bench marking himself/herself for his/her development which could be either career, skill sets, evaluating options, consumption patterns, financials and so on.