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Thursday, 02 June 2011 16:15

Social networks snare Enterprise Australia

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Social networks are now being taken very seriously by Enterprise Australia with organisations ranging from big banks, through universities, Government departments, retailers and not-for-profits lauding their reach and influence during this week's Cebit conference. Nowhere was the growth starker than at EarthHour which has in the last year seen its social network contacts soar from 17.4 million to 91 million making social networks the primary driver of the global green initiative.

According to Andy Ridley, co founder and executive director of EarthHour the organisation's Facebook community has grown 100,000 in the last month alone.

Speaking at Cebit Mr Ridley said; 'The revolution isn't a digital revolution, it's the power to connect.'

It was that facility to connect with individuals that led NAB to first launch its 'breakup' marketing campaign through a 'planted tweet' according to Chris Smith, general manger digital at NAB's direct banking. After the viral kick-off the campaign transferred to traditional media and is being held largely responsible for a 20 per cent increase in transaction accounts and 20 per cent increase in home loan applications.

Asked about how NAB controlled the negative sentiment about banks on social networks, Mr Smith admitted; 'We get hammered all the time' but that the bank recognised it was important to connect directly with customers.

He said all the banks were similarly engaged and such was the investment in social networks that he encouraged delegates to; 'Use social media when you want to get served by the banks. Everyone's over resourced there.'

Meanwhile the University of Adelaide, which has provided 720 iPads to first year science students is now hoping those students will use social networks to spread the word about the initiative and encourage more young people to apply for the course.


Government is also embracing social media. On Wednesday at Cebit James Kliemt from the Queensland Police Service explained how the media department had harnessed Facebook to get out information to flood affected Queenslanders, leading to an unprecedented level of friending in a 24 hour period.

Its Facebook page has attracted almost 198,000 likes to date, and has been used as a two way conduit with the Police sending out alerts, and the public providing information.

In a keynote presentation yesterday Geosciences Australia also explained how social media communications, particularly tweets, could be used to provide information to authorities about earthquake or tsunami effects which provided valuable insights to overlay on the data already collected from satellites.

The next phase of social networking, complete with location based information, is what excited many of the presenters. Cafe chain Gloria Jeans International which has had a social networking strategy in place for the last year is one of the organisations keen to explore how it can harness location data to extract more value for its social network links with customers.



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