Social Media Management
The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports that 85% of online users in the U.S. have received help from their online network when making a big decision.
They call this “networked individualism,” and suggest that people get advice from friends and others from their social networks.
And that’s why online brand managers should understand and use social media sites in their online branding strategy.
You’ve probably heard of MySpace.com and Facebook.com, but you might not know there are hundreds of other online social networks out there.
And it’s very possible that your brand is being discussed on many of these online networks.
So this page is devoted to helping you understand online social networking sites — and how to use them to promote your brand.
What is An Online Social Network?
At a very basic level, social networking sites include the following:
- User profiles (public/private)
- List of friends
- Ways for users to interact (chat, messaging, sharing media, etc.)
Types of Social Networking Sites
Over the last ten years, SNSs have evolved from general friendship sites (e.g. SixDegrees.com, Friendster, Classmates, MySpace, Facebook) to more specific hobby-related and career-focused sites.
There are online communities for virtually everything imaginable, and these sites can be broadly categorized into four possible areas:
- Alumni networks
- Career/business related
- Hobby/group networks
Learn more about the various types of online social networks.
Social Networking Traffic Statistics
Rankings and statistics change monthly (and vary depending on the web statistic firm reporting). However, these stats serve as a marker for how these sites are doing as of February 2008.
As you can see, MySpace.com is the dominant player in social networking, while Facebook.com is gaining ground. Many other niche social networks are growing too, but these don’t compare to the dominant market share that MySpace and Facebook have.
Social Network Site Demographics
It’s tough to gather demographic information from each social networking site because it’s not always publicly available (and sometimes only reserved for advertisers).
However, Pipl.com has gathered hundreds of millions of public profiles from social networking sites between November and December 2007 and developed informative charts about the demographics of users on the most popular social networks. Here are some highlights:
- Woman are younger, the men are older.
Women start on MySpace at a younger age, but their membership decreases as they age (especially around age 26). On the other hand, men remain more active as they age.
- Bebo and Xanga have the youngest members.
Xanga has the youngest demographic of social networking members (23% of members are under 18 years old) and Bebo is second (18% under 18). However membership in these sites declines rapidly after 18.
- European, Asians and South American Members are getting Younger
The demographic of Asian, European and South American members are trending younger – especially women.
- More Women on MySpace, More Men on Hi5
The demographic of users on MySpace is trending more female, while more men are joining Hi5. This statistic is just in reference to the demographic breakdown on Hi5 and MySpace.
When examining social network site demographics, keep in mind where visitors are coming from. Many popular social networking sites (e.g. Orkut.com) have visitors from outside the United States. Check Alexa.com to find out where visitors are coming from.
List of Online Social Networks
- Club Penguin
- Windows Live Spaces
- Yahoo 360