Cloud Computing and the Social Media Marketing Opportunity – How It Started and the Way Forward

social media cloudSocial media and social networking have become an integral part of modern day life. With the number of people networking, sharing and buying online growing social media platforms are now “the place” where businesses and consumers meet and interact.

Cloud computing has had a significant impact on social networking. It has produced a large, rapidly growing, and competitive social media market. Here is a look at how it all began and where it is headed…

In the Beginning…MySpace

MySpace, a Los Angeles-based company sparked off a social media revolution in business. What began as a cloud-computed social networking site for musicians and people in the music industry soon saw all types of users signing up and creating profiles. Musicians and artists were creating profiles to promote their art and music. Very quickly other types of businesses emerged with MySpace profiles, adding as many “friends” as possible, and using the platform to post bulletins with promotional news and advertisements.

The Emergence of Social Networks as a Force

As MySpace’s popularity as a social networking tool grew businesses soon realized the power of social networks as spaces where people were doing more than sharing updates and photos, they were sharing ideas about products, services and events. Thus social networks became “the place” for consumer engagement and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) initiatives. The power of friends to influence opinions became the foundation of online consumer engagement and CRM through social networks.

Making Inroads…Facebook

Facebook then took off on this social networking wave and soon emerged as a force to reckon with for most social networks which were then in the fray. As a platform for people to find others and connect with them based on searches propelled by geography, interests, university alumni groups among a host of other ways Facebook made networking that much easier. The feature of “pages” whereby businesses, brands, products, causes and communities could send friend requests to entire networks, and thereafter promote events, share news, or have “followers”. The “status update” enabled brief communication without having to send out individual messages.

Thus the social networking movement revolutionized social behavior even more than email though web-based email like Yahoo! or Gmail, which are also examples of cloud computing.

Micro Blogs Arrive

Next, Twitter made waves on the cloud computing scene, creating a micro-blog, a form of social media to again respond to needs of users and businesses. Twitter allows a maximum of 140 characters per entry. Subscribers can receive “Tweets” from other subscribers whom they are following, and respond to them. Short and focused in its approach the best thing about Twitter is real-time updates to keep people and businesses connected not long drawn profiles and numerous photo albums. . Users can “follow” other users whom they choose, so when any update in status is recorded, it is reflected in real time.

Cloud Computing Services with a Difference

BitTorrent and Skype are cloud computing services that operate a little differently in the form of peer-to-peer sharing and have little or no centralized infrastructure or billing systems at all. Users can share information, files, and software in an open source network that is free from licensing and copyright laws. Skype has become a powerful means for trainers; teachers and instructors who are seeking to break geographical boundaries and make the virtual classroom more personalized.

The Way Ahead…

Social media is still developing and social media marketing faces a number of challenges some of which can be detrimental to its further growth and development, social media fatigue, concerns about privacy and boredom are just some of them. While there is no quick fix method, it offers tremendous scope and opportunities to marketers and consumers to engage in real time dialogue.

While Google, Amazon and Microsoft are all set to take advantage of cloud forces, some of the other emerging names that are creating the headwind in the cloud space are AppZero, Enomaly, Long Jump and Vaultscape, Flexiant, Workbooks, CloudSigma and Cloudmore etc.

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