The Growing Role of Social Networking in Promotion

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, Technology Marketing Corporation  |  August 01, 2010

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of Unified Communications magazine.

The online coupon business is booming and the reason for its recent boost in success is 100 percent related to the economy. On the one hand, customers have less money and need to shop for the best deals they can find. On the other, retailers want to spend money on marketing while being able to generate a direct pay back. Online coupons are the beneficiaries of these trends.

To give you an idea of how hot this market is, one company in the space, Groupon, has been so successful it has encouraged a wave of group-buying Chinese startups.

I often have conversations with people in the tech industry about Twitter and social media in general. In the B2B space, it seems that getting any sort of ROI from social media is tough to measure. Still, other business leaders swear by social networking as a valuable marketing tool. Companies like Facebook (News - Alert) know this and are doing their best to leverage new tools to get businesses hooked on their platforms.

One company early to Twitter was Dell, which uses the service to send coupons to customers. So with this in mind, Twitter is looking to monetize its site and has launched a new user name @earlybird, which is focused on bringing coupons to the masses. As of this writing, this account is adding about 1,000 new users per hour. This is a far cry from Lebron James who added well over 100,000 users in a day, but it's still respectable. And, yes, the company will take a percentage of the sale items it promotes.

For those people wondering how and if Twitter would be able to monetize its site, they should be very happy that the company is not standing still. But to really start flying high it needs to get rid of the dreaded and frequent fail whale messages.

Speaking of Twitter and Lebron, I recently tweeted that Lady Gaga has surpassed President Obama in Twitter followers and that Lebron recently joined Twitter at @kingjames. At the time I wrote about this, in early July, Lebron had just 30,000 followers – a far cry from the 4.8 million followers of Lady Gaga or the 4.5 million of President Obama. But, as noted above, the basketball great’s following has quickly increased.

The underlying theme here it that it is clear the Web is becoming more important than ever in everyday life through the dissemination of information and even helping businesses promote their products and customers manage their budgets. It’s also become a key resource in helping to shape the image of celebrities, athletes and politicians.

Rich Tehrani is CEO of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO (News - Alert)). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi