The incorporation of Google+ and +1 into SERPs and the probable introduction of real-money gambling to Facebook are game changers.

These are just a number of ways companies are making use of social media. As time evolves there will always be new and innovative ways to reach consumers. But consumers are much more aware of online tricks and traps and consumer psychology dictates that real 'word of mouth’ marketing efforts are the most effective.


When you think of social networking, the first word that springs to mind is Facebook, and for many people Facebook is social media. Indeed, its numbers are staggering; the company boasts in excess of 800 million users - bringing its global penetration to ten percent of the entire world population. In the UK, Facebook numbers peaked in July 2011 with 30 million users, and Ofcom’s 2011 Communications Report outlined a 46 percent take up rate of social networking for all UK Internet users, driven primarily by this platform. Yet, while Facebook marketing activities should be included as the core part of any plan, there is a massive and widespread misconception that a Facebook fan page is sufficient for a well- rounded social media plan.


Twitter, too, has come a long way when you consider that in May 2008, Nielsen reported that the network had reached only 1.2 million unique visitors globally. However, at the start of 2012, Twitter has reported 100 million users worldwide (and up to 250 to 300 million accounts), 20 million of whom are in the UK. And it’s not just the customer numbers that are on the rise, but also the site’s usage by those customers. The average number of tweets per day in June 2010 was 65 million, which rose dramatically to 230 million per day in September 2011.

Though celebrities tend to dominate the trending topics, sports events from the recent Super Bowl to a Manchester derby (football) have hundreds of thousands of interested people actively engaging in real-time, which is, or should be, a key part of targeting activity for affiliates and operators.
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