If you’re not a member of one, you’ve certainly heard of at least one of them and more than likely know someone who is on one. That’s right, I’m talking about a social networking site. MySpace and Facebook are the two largest at the moment and are growing rapidly every day. So what impact are these sites having on business and is there a place for these sites in your business?
Put simply – yes…most definitely! Some are more relevant than others and each have their pros and cons. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
The original social networking site, that exploded in 2006 hitting over 106 million accounts, is now 6 years old and it is estimated that it attracts over 230,000 visitors a day! That’s a huge audience. MySpace offers little interactivity for users to network from a business perspective but it offers a massive opportunity to larger businesses or events that wish to market to a specific demographic. Recently companies such as V Energy Drinks and Kit Kat have used the login page to promote their brands and products. The beauty of these sites is that they know all about you so advertisers are able to dictate specific demographics that they wish to target. Banner adverts are also available within the site at the header of each page.
MySpace has pitched itself very much at the Gen Y market with the ability for users to customise the look and feel of their pages with backgrounds and themes plus applications to display various content such as pictures and profile information. It’s also only really and option open to larger corporates who have the serious marketing dollars to throw at the process.
Facebook came about in 2004 and it too has in excess of 100 million users. Facebook differs from MySpace because it offers its users a much more directed experience. By this I mean that it is not about colourful profiles and flash graphics. It’s about content and interaction between ‘friends’. Used wisely, Facebook allows you to target the right ‘friends’ to create a network that you can market too. Business can create their own page that allows people to become ‘fans’ of your business. Here you can post information, notes, photos or even import your blog via an RSS feed. Don’t expect quick results though as most business is not really ‘ fan‘ material. It does give you a presence though and that can be an important aspect of your SEO strategy as much as anything else.
Facebook also allows advertisers to target demographics but in a different way to MySpace. Information contained within your profile allow advertisers to target to specific markets. So for example, if a user’s profile states that they enjoy various animated series (i.e. Simpsons, Family Guys, American Dad etc) then a company such as Sanity could place an advert for a sale on Animated Series DVD’s. This gets directly to the user who is interested. Very powerful.
You can also install a number of applications and join various groups that have a similar interest to your business and thus use that group to market too. In fact I know of a real estate agent that places all of his homes on his Facebook profile. Realistically, the possibilities are endless!
LinkedIn is not really a social networking site but it does work on a very similar premise. Its philosophy is simple: ” Relationships Matter” Founded in 2002, is highly focused on fostering business with over 24 million users and over 150 industry categories. It allows users to create connections between themselves and other relative users. It’s based on the power of your network. Advertising opportunities are fairly limited and costs are such that it’s really only obtainable for larger corporate business. The network aspect however can be very valuable and given the right connections, you can reach networks you never even knew existed.
The key to all these though is time and energy. You have to work them as you would any other type of networking. You can’t simply create an account and leave it. That’s like attending a business networking meeting and sitting in the corner, facing the walls having forgotten all your business cards – you’re not likely to see much success.
Take the time to assess how these Web 2.0 initiatives can assist you business. If you wish to become a fan of Jack in the box on Facebook, then you can do so here: Jack in the box Facebook Page or if you would liked to join my LinkedIn network then simply invite me by using my full name ( Scott Robinson) and my email address ( firstname.lastname@example.org) or via the button below:
Note: It must be noted that I’m guilty of sitting in the corner without my business card when it comes to LinkedIn having not properly given it the time it needs for me to gain benefit.
This may be the start of something though…