The current state of Social Media Business is alot like the NBA Free Agency situation of the league’s premier superstar, LeBron James. If you have tuned into ESPN Sportscenter within the last couple of weeks, you will have noticed that the sports world is riveted on the Free Agency of Lebron James. I have decided to have a little fun and offer you, my loyal reader, a fun take on the matter with a spin on Social Media Business.
LeBron James has been courted by several major cities, each hoping to land the superstar and the massive amount of money he will bring with him. The University of Illinois at Chicago economist John Skorburg has estimated that the city of Chicago could add up to $2.7 billion dollars if he plays as a Bull for 6 years. Other large cities such as New York with the New York Knicks have done their own studies and concluded that the city of New York would benefit $58 million in one year if LeBron James takes his team to a NBA Finals and wins.
Similarly, major Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, MySpace and several others have been seriously courting big business over the past several years – each with a major cash bonus of their own if they become the number one home for big businesses. Big businesses such as HBO, Home Depot, and Walgreens for example have been “talking” with each of these platforms by creating accounts and testing their respective markets. Facebook has been all the rage over the past several months and may come out as the fore-runner, but you cannot ignore the popular micro-blogging platform of Twitter, the fledging but News Corporation owned MySpace Inc., or the hot new app and geolocation based company of FourSquare.
Lets take a look at the major courters of LeBron James and how the major Social Media platforms are similar.
Cleveland Cavaliers = Twitter
1. The Cleveland Cavaliers is LeBron’s home and where he has been building his legacy since the start of his career. Twitter was the first major social media platform where big business started creating accounts and engaging with their communities.
2. Similar to Cleveland’s situation with LeBron James, Twitter is still the home for the vast number of businesses engaged in social media.
3. The city of Cleveland has experienced enormous growth since the emergence of the superstar LeBron. Twitter has experienced equal growth since major businesses have joined and seriously advertised and engaged their accounts.
4. Both Cleveland and Twitter have some serious competition in the likes of new suitors.
Chicago Bulls = Facebook
1. Chicago Bulls have young superstars and lots of cap room to attract LeBron James to the city of Chicago. Facebook has millions of young users and an advantage of Facebook Advertising that is bring in loads of extra dough. Facebook revenues are projected at $1.2 billion in 2010.
2. Chicago has a legacy of fans generated from the dominance of another NBA Superstar, Michael Jordan. Facebook has Mark Zuckerburg, the founder of Facebook, who became a household name when he turned down an astonishing $1 billion acquisition offer from Yahoo. This offer in the summer of 2006 really put Facebook on the map and validated Facebook’s emergence into the world of Social Media for Business as well as the value of their large fan base.
3. Facebook has been the fastest growing home for businesses since the emergence of Fan Pages and the Like Box. Likewise, the Chicago Bulls have been growing with the additions of young talented stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. All are great additions and have poised each organization for spectacular growth and success.
MySpace = New York Knicks
1. The New York Knicks were one of the first NBA teams established in the NBA and one of only two teams still located in its founding city because of their tremendous success in their early years. MySpace is one of the founders of the social media platform and has enjoyed much success and dominance in its field until only several years ago with the emergence of Facebook and Twitter.
2. Like New York Knicks, MySpace has sucked for the past several years and is desperately trying to reshape and invigorate its floundering platform.
3. The Knicks signed free agent Amar’e Stoudemire – a “4 out of 5 superstar”, who will bring a big impact to the team. By doing so, the Knicks have left their options open if they do not land LeBron James, but also leave a tantalizing offer for him to come to New York. MySpace is similar in that they have focused on the musician segment of the social media audience while still leaving the door open for alternative business growth. MySpace is the most popular platform for musicians and attracts a large number of views every month from their “4 out 5 superstar” (the musician/artist segment base). Yet recent acquisitions by MySpace such as Photobucket, Inc., Imeem Inc. and iLike Inc. in 2009 ensure continued business growth over the following years and position the company to attract more major business.
Miami Heat = Foursquare
1. The Miami Heat has pretty much cleared their entire roster to make room for the salaries of huge superstars such as Dwayne Wayde, Chris Bosh and LeBron James. In many ways, the Miami Heat represents a fresh start to an NBA team. FourSquare is similar in the aspect that it is newer than both Facebook and Twitter and thus fresher and still attaining large amounts of growth. FourSquare is one of the hottest start-up companies in the New York technology scene and could be a vital place for Big Business to make its home in the coming years.
2. The Miami Heat are taking a gamble and could come away from the Free Agency full of All-Stars, or it could come away empty handed if all the All-Stars decide to go to other franchises. FourSquare has choosen to take additional venture capital money rather than pursue talks with Yahoo regarding an acquisition. This is also a gamble and could prove to make FourSquare look like a brilliant company with amazing foresight, or a company down on its luck after placing a large bet and losing.
3. The Miami Heat has an awesome superstar in Dwayne Wayde and are using him to attract other big name players to their team. FourSquare is similar in that they have big businesses such as HBO, Bravo and Zagat on board and are using them as proof to other big businesses that FourSquare is no joking matter.
I don’t know which NBA team LeBron James will end up on, but my guess is that he will stay with Cleveland. The only problem with my analogy here is that I think Big Businesses will find the most success on Facebook. Luckily for Big Businesses, they can play for every team and will be involved with every platform mentioned here.
I may have left out some great analogies and maybe some of the teams I picked will match up better with other social media platforms. Tell me whether I am spot on or dead off.
Let me hear your opinion!
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