The online social network has revolutionised the concept of marketing. As a result of this, many companies are increasing their presence on the internet (Taylor 2013, p. 14). It is important to note that the main objective of any organisation is to make more money. Increased presence on the internet is one of the strategies used by contemporary organisations to increase their earnings. In this paper, the author examines the various ways through which organisations can use social networking platforms on the internet as a source of revenue.
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In order to achieve the objective of this study, the author will make use of two companies that have succeeded in monetising their presence in social media networks. The success of the two companies can be traced to their exploitation of their online presence. They have used the online platform to market themselves and increase their customer base. The report focuses on The Washington Post and the New York Jets as the preferred case studies. The author of this report has an in-depth understanding of the two organisations. They have intentions of furthering their career in either of the two organisations, possibly as a consultant.
In the opinion of Safko and Brake (2012, p. 7), the internet is characterised by various platforms through which social networking is propagated. Some the avenues that are examined in this report include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
According to Loposer and Buck (2012, p. 87), social networking is the future of marketing. To this end, this report examines the organisations’ social activities and their respective success in endeavours to exploit the platform. In addition, the report examines structures set up by the two organisations in a bid to understand the amount of resources required to support social networking growth. The report looks at some of the activities through which the organisations use social networking channels.
How Organisations Monetise their Presence on Online Social Networking Sites
According to Kerpen (2011, p. 43), it is possible for a company to use social network platforms to generate revenue. Many organisations in contemporary world have already discovered this. Based on the two case studies mentioned above, this report examines the various monetisation processes adopted by the two organisations. The manner in which presence on social media is monetised relies on a company’s brand and its awareness among the clients (Sterne 2010, p. 33).
The Washington Post
Current social activities and their success
The Washington Post is a leading news agency in the United States of America (The Official Board 2013, par. 1). Similar to other publishing outlets, the organisation has decided to embrace the digital revolution (Grove 2011, par. 5). The recent changes in the company’s management have spurred a shift in its core operations. The change explains the company’s shift to digital material. As a result, the company is actively engaged in social networking (Examiner.com par. 3).
According to Lavrusik (2012, par. 6), the news agency has a strong presence online, particularly on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Through these social platforms, the company engages its readers on various subjects. The subjects make up the content of the company’s publications. In addition, the company is actively engaging its customers through subscription programs carried out online. Ingram (2013, par. 1) cites pay walls as one form of subscriptions used by this company. In addition, the news agency has a dedicated app.
The Washington Post Social Reader is an application that links the clients of this news agency to Facebook. The link is through mobile phones and other ‘smart’ gadgets (Ingram 2013, par. 7). The organisation is also making use of widgets as an innovative way of advertising. The management uses Twitter as its preferred platform to this end.
Lavrusik (2012, par. 1) lauds the efforts made by social networking sites in helping journalists gather information from various parts of the world. However, the writer argues that at the end of the day, a news agency must make money given that it is a business outlet, just like any other. To this end, Ingram (2013, par. 1) argues through the pay walls, the Washington Post gets more revenue due to its dedicated number of followers.
Another revenue-related success of the company’s social activities is the income generated through the advertisements. Through the real-time advertisements in the widgets discussed above, Lavrusik (2012, par. 4) says that the company has increased its revenue. The news market has become very competitive, with clients shifting from mainstream media to other forms of news outlets. The innovative avenue discussed here offers companies a chance to cash in on advertisements. The company’s significant online presence and its social network activities is a key contributor to this success.
Structures set up and resources needed to support social networking growth
The company recently underwent changes in its organisational structure. The structuring was necessary after the company was sold off to a new owner (Mufson 2013, par. 1). Upon acquisition, the new management was very categorical that their major intention was to ensure the company grows. To this end, most of the company’s resources are directed at supporting its social media presence. Mufson (2013, par. 9) argues that the organisation is faced with challenges of rewriting and ‘debundling’ its image. The management believes that allocating relevant resources to such platforms as pay wall and the development of other apps will help grow the company’s presence and also increase its revenues (Chittum 2013).
The New York Jets
Current social activities and their success
The New York Jets is a leading team in America’s popular National Football League (NFL). Like any other organisation, the team relies on revenues for its growth. To this end, Sports Business Daily (2011, par. 3) illustrates several social networking activities that ‘the Jets’ are currently involved in. Through Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts, the club has come up with an innovative mechanism to interact with their fans. The most common platform used by the club is Twitter (Sports Business Daily 2011, par. 4).
The Jets team also actively updates its content in the various social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter (Softpedia 2013, par. 3). According to Jones-Drew (2013), the club is at the top of the table when it comes to ranking teams that post NFL related content (11.9%). In addition, through these social media platforms, the club engages in competitions. Brown (2012) makes reference to a competition the Jets held in 2011. The NFL side turned to Twitter to advertise the various contests through which participants stood a chance to win tickets. The game that the fans were contesting for was the team’s playoff against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The New York Jets has applications (apps) which are incorporated into social media platforms. According to Sports Business Daily (2011, par. 1), the team has two apps developed as interactive mechanisms. On iTunes, the team has an application known as Fireman Ed Chant. In addition, the club has the Ultimate Fan as a Facebook app. Other activities that the club engages in include advertising and selling merchandise through its various social networking platforms (Sports Business Daily 2011, par. 1).
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The various activities mentioned above have benefits to the team. The various social activities have made the team increase its presence online (Jones-Drew 2013, par. 1). Secondly, the activities act as a source of revenue. According to the Sports Business Daily (2011), “the team’s Fireman Ed Chant is the second best selling paid sports app” (par. 1). The other application is also a source of revenue, having brought on board 4 sponsors.
Structures set up and resources used to support social networking growth
Looking at the organisational structure of the New York Jets, Hopkins and Kern (2011, par. 1) argue that the company’s resources are best managed by the public relations and marketing departments. The two make reference to the fact that the Jets team has a combined following of more than 250,000 fans on both Facebook and Twitter. A substantial budget is needed to ensure growth in this area.
The team has an exclusive department dedicated to entertainment. Hopkins and Kern (2011, par. 1) point out that social networking growth relies on funding to all the departments responsible for this venture in the organisation. The marketing, public relations, and entertainment departments are some of the most significant divisions of the New York Jets. Each of the departments has its own sustainable budget.
Activities that the organisation is involved in through social media
As aforementioned, the organisation is a significant team in the NFL. Consequently, the team has a large number of fans. The team makes use of Twitter to help fans interact with the players at a personal level (The Jets Blog 2010, par. 1). In addition, the team is actively engaged in the sales of match tickets via online. The sale is also advertised in the team’s social media platforms.
The club also makes use of its presence on social network platforms to offer promotions aimed at giving the fans a chance to win free merchandise. A case in point was the team’s recent Twitter-based contest (Brown 2012, par. 3). Fans stood a chance to win tickets to one of the opening matches. Such events are highly valued.
The efforts made by many organisations to take their business online through social media platforms are important in increasing the company’s visibility. The efforts must be encouraged as they have the potential to realise the exponential growth of the organisations (Safko & Brake 2012, p. 67). In this report, The Washington Post and the New York Jets illustrate a mechanism through which a company can generate revenue through social networking (Solis 2011). However, just like any other business strategy, there needs to be a plan for execution. In addition, an organisation is expected to allocate resources to such initiatives.
A Time Plan and Resources Needed to Establish Presence on Social Networks
An analysis of the case studies in this report reveals that social networking has a potential for generating revenue. In the case of The Washington Post, the company started by first creating an online presence before embarking on actual revenue generation (Lavrusik, 2010, par. 2). Such a time plan must be calculated in line with an organisation’s preferred marketing roadmap. In this regard, a company must ensure that their ‘following’ on social platforms grows exponentially (Kerpen, 2011, p. 80).
The news agency featured in this paper took bold steps towards embracing the digital revolution. The organisation is slowly reaping huge benefits through increased revenues from social networks (Wooley 2012). However, returns on such social ventures are tied to the investments made by companies in this regard. According to Hopkins and Kern (2011, par. 3), the New York Jets has an exclusive department for entertainment. The social platforms owned by this organisation are all managed by this department.
Consequently, an organisation seeking to make profits from its presence on social media must invest a substantive amount of its financial resources to such activities (Loposer & Buck 2012, p. 56). In this case, the leadership of any organisation should set aside funds for the operationalisation of such platforms. Mufson (2013) suggests that human resource is equally important. As such, an organisation should rely on experts in the field of social networking.
Kerpen (2011, p. 78) argues that developing an online presence and using the same for social transactions requires a team spirit. That team, regardless of the industry that the organisation is operating within, must seek to achieve certain objectives. The team must understand the audience, be creative in their vision, and develop a mechanism through which the monetisation can be measured.
According to Brown (2012, par. 6), companies should try to make their clients aware of their presence by joining as many social networks as possible. The same explains why the companies featured in this study have multiple social media accounts. Another avenue through which the monetisation process is realised is through engaging the organisation’s audience as exhibited by The New York Jets.
Brown (2012, par. 7) goes further to suggest that the monetisation process cannot afford to ignore the need for online promotions. An example of how such an avenue is able to increase the revenues of a company is seen by how The New York Jets successfully advertised a contest on Twitter. Such an approach helps to increase the number of clients associated with the organisation, providing them with an incentive to spend to the benefit of the company.
Innovative advertising and subscription stands out as important ways through which an organisation successfully monetises its online presence. Social media is, without any doubt, the next frontier in the marketing platform (Safko and Brake, 2012, p 43). Therefore, it is important for companies with a presence on social media to try and come up with innovative ways of attracting viewership and increasing revenue in the process.
The financial rewards that a company stands to gain from revenue generated from social networking are immense. One such instance is the case of the New York Jets. According to Sports Business Daily (2011, par. 2), the team no longer relies on its playoff revenues. The revenue generated from online apps and sponsors allows the team to remain financially viable even without relying on the tickets sold. The same is true for any organisation that actively engages in efforts to monetise its presence on social networks.
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