- Internet & the Web
Multiply: A Business-focused Networking Site, A Review on its Business Features
Social networking is an internet phenomena that built transnational communities were members get to interact and build a marketplace for individual and group sentiments, outlook, opinion, response to just about anything that concerns human life and social interaction.
The most common social networking site is Facebook. Indeed, Facebook is but one of the dozens or even hundreds of networking sites online. Each of which has its own ‘specialty’ on how to attract members to sign up. For example, MySpace focuses on its marketing strategy as site for “a place for friend.” Some networking sites are very specific. For instance, Buzznet, Twitter, 43 things, and StumbleUpon are social networking sites that specialize on cultural trends (Huggins 2007). Imeem, YouTube, and Vimeo are some sites that focus on sharing media arts, video, music, photography, fashion and more. Consumer review networking sites for wine, food and other consumer welfare advocacy include sites like Cork’d, Chowhound, Epinions, Yelp, and RateItAll (Vandelay Design 2009); while social networking sites like LinkedIn, Xing, Multiply, and Doostang are examples of business-focused sites (Huggins 2007).
Examples of Some Social Networking Sites
Like the other networking sites, Multiply has on its feature functions sharing capabilities for blogs, pictures, music, video, and links. It allows easy uploading quality through its AutoUploader; convenience of personalizing members' website that speak to the personal preference of the member; robust privacy options that lets each uploaded item an individualized security setting; it also includes flexible inbox; customized photo books, calendars, cards and print; and automatic permanent archiving (www.multiply.com). But what’s different with Multiply is that it put emphasis on how users can use information in the social network. It has a proximity score that provides a personalized view on the dynamic and relevant information through its Explore tab. Its privacy plus personalization plus automation angle features (Iskold 2006) makes Multiply a preferred social networking sites mostly among business and corporate organizations. Creating an internet marketing opportunity through joint ventures between two companies could dramatically benefit both parties through increased and shared-profit while minimizing expenses (Internet Marketing Center n.d.). Finding or creating an ideal joint venture between Multiply and a business organization could be optimized through an understanding of the marketing mix and scope of online social graph.
Marketing Mix Framework
A balanced marketing mix is needed in order to achieve maximum result through optimized marketing objectives. Each part of the marketing mix must be balanced between place, promotion, price, people, process and product to achieve the desired results (Webber 2005).
Choosing the right place or location for the company is crucial in finding the right audience for your product or service. Multiply is a competitive choice among companies whose target market are professionals and young adult consumers. Moreover, Multiply usage and members are steadily increasing from its launched in 2004. In a span of five years, Multiply has aggressively increased its popularity with 14 million members around the globe and continuously growing in a daily basis; 20 million monthly unique visitors; and 850 million monthly page reviews. The site activities are also impressive with a steady three million photos, 20,000 videos and 55,000 blog entries each day (www.Multiply.com “Multiply Corporate Info”).
Company brand promotion could be done through an online community around a specific product i.e. product launch. Advertising via Multiply site allows the company to interact with members in various and unique ways through ingenious, innovative and original ad units and creative campaigns and sponsorship opportunities.
In the case of a joint venture between a brand and Multiply, the brand could create its own profile or website in Multiply for free while advertising will require a small amount of investment. Also, since Multiply is a transnational social networking site, shipment and shipment fee is an important aspect to consider.
Defining the product or service characteristics to meet the customer’s needs and demands could be addressed through the features of profile or website creation. Customers could post their comments and blogs about the features and benefits of the brand. Moreover, a company could also maximize the AutoUpload feature and make the most of picture, and video uploading features for additional advertising.
Lastly, the aspect of people and process could easily be achieved and define. The people aspect could be further discussed on the scope and limitations of the online social graph. While the process variable includes on how customers could get hold of the service or product. E-commerce could opt to have a click-and-mortar or click-only option. Click-and-Mortar is a business strategy wherein a company would use the net for listing of specific products that are either available online or in a store. An example of which is Wal-Mart. It aims at maximizing sale and profit by using the Click-and-Mortar method so customers could choose which store location it is more convenient to buy and the availability of the product they wish to purchase. Click-Only like Amazon on the other hand utilize the web as its virtual store. This strategy benefits the company because there is no physical space to maintain, less hassle with inventory and is easier to manage (Fullman 2008).
Scope of Online Social Graph
Understanding the online social graph or online demographic is another important aspect of social networking site and venturing a business partnership. Social graph is the term used to refer to the global mapping of everybody and how each of them relates to the individual. For example, networking sites have their own individual social graph so that each user could add friends, remove friends, and manage friend list. However, the social graph is limiting because every time an individual would sign up to a new networking site, various processes like sending invitations and verification have been inconveniencing individuals. Some viewed that an open social graph is needed to help the online community register accounts through various sites. However, some conservative views that with security risks and concerns still thick in the air, further research and risk-benefit study is required before adopting such application (Fitzpatrick & Recordon 2007).
In relating that to Multiply, a social graph could be both limiting and an advantage. It’s limiting in the sense that the social graph relies solely to the number of members on a social networking site. With 14 million plus members who signed up for multiply, it’s a competitive number of potential customers to reach out on. Its advantages on the other hand include a more focused customer base that could be filtered even more based on the parameters of security settings. A brand for example that is starting an e-commerce click-only business could opt to set the social graph parameters and limit it to its area. On this manner, the issue of shipment and reliable, prompt product delivery is assured to the customers.
A click-only business on Multiply
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Fullman, C, 2008, ‘Click-and-Mortar Stores Behaving like Click-Only Stores,’ available from http://chrisfullman.com/2008/09/click-and-mortar-stores-behaving-like-click-only-stores/ [21 September 2009].
Huggins, M, 2007, ‘A Definitive List of Social Networking Websites to Help You Succeed,’ available from http://www.matthuggins.com/a-definitive-list-of-social-networking-websites-to-help-you-succeed/ [21 September 2009].
Internet Marketing Center, n.d., ‘Internet Marketing Opportunity: Create your Ideal Internet Marketing Opportunity with Joint Ventures,’ available from http://www.marketingtips.com/internet-marketing/internet-marketing-opportunity.html [21 September 2009].
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www.Multiply.com, ‘About Multiply, available from http://multiply.com/info/about [21 September 2009].
www.Multiply.com, “Advertise with Multiply,” available from http://multiply.com/info/advertise [21 September 2009].
www.Multiply.com, ‘Multiply Corporate Info’ available from http://multiply.com/info/corp [21 September 2009].
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Vandelay Design, 2009, ‘List of Social Media and Social Networking Sites,’ Traffikd, available from http://traffikd.com/social-media-websites/ [21 September 2009].
Webber, S, 2005, ‘The Marketing Mix,’ Department of Information Studies, Sheffield University, available from http://dis.shef.ac.uk/sheila/marketing/mix.htm [21 September 2009].
Wohlberg, J, 2009b, ‘Multiply Partners with Meebo to Add New Dimension to Media Sharing,’ Multiply, available from http://multiply.com/info/press/meebo [21 September 2009].