What Future Trends Will Online Social Networking Sites Offer Small Businesses?

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Table of Contents2


Chapter One- Research into Business Trends5

Chapter Two- Emerging Social Platforms11

Chapter Three - Convergence Between Business and Social Networks16




Research Question: What future trends will online social networking sites offer small businesses?  
Research Title: An exploration into how online virtual communities could contribute to the marketing potential and development of small businesses in the current climate of local economic downturn and multi corporation dominance.


How can small businesses better harness the power of the Internet? What is the future of online marketing and social networking sites? Can they or even, should they converge? Would this be a positive or disastrous move in respect to both small businesses and consumers? How businesses can leverage the potentials virtual social networking offers them for development and growth is an area of research that has not been explored in any thorough manner. These and many similar questions have prompted me to instigate this research where I have undertaken a close inspection of a variety of primary and secondary sources of data and set up my own social network for my Public house business online. The subject also compliments my Final Major Project for my degree where I am investigating and developing the concept of a convergent media strategy for the development of small businesses. Web-based communication trends have seen a rapid increase over recent times than could have ever been predicted in previous years. The growth of the use of the internet has allowed a plethora of social networking sites to emerge, some of which are namely: MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Bebo, CyWorld, Twitter. In 2009 we began to see an exponential growth of social media. Consumers are beginning to blend their own needs and behaviours with novel online activities. An example of this is how businesses are using and setting up Face-book groups and pages and becoming known via the wider social networks of their small user or consumer bases already in place. An early example of social networking, SixDegrees.com was a social network service website that lasted from 1997 to 2001 and was based on the Web of Contacts model of social systems. It was named after the six degrees of separation concept and allowed users to list friends, family members and acquaintances both on the site and externally; external contacts were invited to join the site. The following Chapters will be an exposition of my research done in this area.

Chapter One – Research into Trends

It is argued in this research paper that having a basic website and logo is no longer enough and hoping for customers, either by recommendation or accident, to stumble across your site is not enough. How can your service or products reach the right audience? Research into this area has illustrated that by not solely establishing, but by continuously maintaining an increasingly personal link with the customer base any business can maximize sales and profit better than was possible ever before. It is believed that customers want options, interaction, efficiency, and suitable advertising tailored to their needs. To deliver this, I believe businesses need to identify their audience better, and operate on a more personable level. Most businesses online tend to bombard potential customers with information that is unsuitable, and Social networking sites. We are currently witnessing certain trends and developments in the virtual world that we were unable to predict at the inception of the Internet or worldwide web. As we watch the future unfold at such a rapid rate, with the uptake and daily growth of people using, sharing, connecting and disseminating personal information, shared interests and activities on online community...
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