As technology has developed, so too has the web and it is expanding constantly. Currently, we are in the era of Web 2.0 and Social Media is harnessing collaboration. Social Media is the revolutionary transformation of media, going from a top-down broadcast model to one that allows the former audience to communicate with one another and take part in the content creation (Khan,2010).
Social media is fast becoming a new type of media for online social interaction. It is also a new communication medium platform which encourages individuals to become co-producers, co-creators and co-developers. In other words, social media allows people to shift flexibly between the role of audience and author. The term “Social Media” started with Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy Public Relations in 2006. It is a collective term for online interactive “technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives” (Wikipedia, 2010). Currently, the social media platforms are combinations of online Web-based collaborative tools which allow individuals and organizations to instantly collaborate, to share information and to discuss ideas. As well, thwy allows people to form a highly accessible online collaborative community. In 2010, Kaplan and Haenlein defined six different social media types in their Business Horizons article called Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media and Social Netwroks is one of them.
In 1954, the term “Social Network” was first coined by J. A. Barnes in the book Human Relations – Class and Committees in a Norwegian Island Parish. According to Wikipedia (2010), a social networks is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called “nodes,” which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige. In other words, they allow people to build their online personal profile and connect with their friends to form their own social network. As well, they help to share content with others and to allow people to communicate more interactively. The typical examples of social networks are Facebook and MySpace (see Figure 1.0).
Figure 1.0 – Examples of Social Networks
Today, more and more companies are using social netowrks to communicate with their employees, consumers and business partners. Companies like Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines, Pepsi, Intel, Dell and Ford are changing their corporate culture to support Social Media. For example, Intel is using Twitter to connect with their consumers – Michael Brito (a former social media manager at Intel) on Vimeo. This week i am going to look into an organization that uses social networks. One of the best examples for an organization is Nike.
Figure 2.0 – Nike
Nike (see Figure 2.0) is an American company and was founded as Ble Ribbon Sports in January 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight. With more than 30,000 Nike employees across six continents in the world, Nike is the world’s leading sportswear and equipment supplier (Nike, 2010). Nike is using social networks to reach out to consumers and young audiences, as well as, to allow them to share their own sports story with others. In July 2006, Nike and Apple partnered up together to launch a new innovative Nike+iPod product, Nike Plus (see Video 1.0). It is also known as Nike + iPod which is a technology providing motivation to runners in 180 countries around the world (Nike, 2010). It also allows them to track their personal workout data, upload their running/walking information and connects ruuners around the world at a website, Nike+ (see Figure 3.0) where it’s aggregated with all the other data uploaded by all the other runners and walkers (Hames, 2008). Most importantly, Nike+ website is a virtual gathering place for the runners. They have collectively logged 459 million kilomiles. In other words, Nike creates an online community with social network applications (Nike Plus | Facebook, Nike Plus | Twitter) for the consumers to communicate, so they can be engaged and can be part of a community whether it is a digital community or virtual community or even if it is a physical community.
Nike Plus Statistics
- Nike has more than 2 million Nike+ community members.
- Nike+ community members have logged more than 459 million kilomiles. (September, 2010)
- Since launch in July 2006 over 900,000 challenges (908,935 and counting) have been created, more than 1.7 million goals (1,732,653 and counting) have been created, and more than 140,000 training programs (141,819 and counting) have been launched on www.nikeplus.com (Nikebiz, 2010).
A video clip explains “what Nike+ is”
Video 1.0 – Nike+ Motivation
Figure 3.0 – Nike+ website
Benefits of Social Networking Site (Social Network)
Nike is one of the major organizations that truly enhance their bottom line through social networking (MarketingHackz.com, 2009). There are some key benefits for Nike to launch a strong corporate social networking site.
- User Focus – Make it useful, fun, and informative for your customers and potential customers. People do not want to participate in networks that simply advertise new products or offer specials.
- Niche Building – Having a social network is nice, but creating one that is THE place to go for participants passionate in a particular niche is extremely important when it comes to making a network stand out.
- Product Tie-Ins – In the end, a social network should make a splash on the bottom line. People have shown that they are willing to spend money on a product if the benefits work both ways: the product must enhance the use of the network and the network must enhance the use of the product.
- Event Tie-Ins – The Internet is loaded with ways to learn about and register for events. By using the social network to improve the efficiency and communication of events, especially ones that are locally focused but involve multiple venues, the overall value of the network will be enhanced.
- Set Community Goals – Nike+ is getting close to logging 100 Million Miles amongst their users.
In conclusion, Nike has successfully launched Nike+product with social networks. Nike+ uses digital technology (embedded a chip in a shoe) to enhance consumers performance and make sure that there is both a community angle of it and all the social attraction (MarketingHackz.com, 2009). More companies will use social networks like Facebook and Twitter as tools to provide ways for the organization to build brand loyalty, gather information and even create competitive advantages.
Nike+ Shows Why Corporate Social Networking Is Important. 2009. MarketingHackz.com.
Social Media. 2010. Wikipedia.
Social Network. 2010. Wikipedia.
Kaplan, Andreas M. and Haenlein Michael. 2010. Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media, Business Horizons, Vol. 53, Issue 1, p. 59-68.
N. Khan. 2010. Internet Marketing.