Social networking is growing huge — and it is only going to get bigger. In fact, according to Nielsen/Netratings , the darling of the social networking genre, MySpace, is the fastest growing Web brand in the US. Traffic of MySpace grew from 16.2 million unique visitors in July 2005 to 46 million in July 2006.
Looking at those numbers, you can’t help but think – is there a way to bring a slice of that huge pie to your site? How can you tap MySpace to further your business and bring traffic to your site?
My first impression with social networking sites is that their users are teens and youngsters; but I was actually surprised to learn that some sites attract a more mature audience. According to Comscore MediaMetrix , visitors to MySpace.com and Friendster.com are generally older, with people age 25 and older comprising 68 and 71 percent of their user bases, respectively. In fact, 40% of MySpace users are aged 35-54 (my age group!).
I’ve poked around MySpace to see how businesses are using the site. The artists have been among the first who saw the potential of social networking, with musicians and videographers posting their music and videos, and artists showing their paintings. I’ve seen some business coaches who are using the site to post their credentials with an invitation to meet those who “want to be millionaires” as they can definitely help achieve in achieving this goal.
Big businesses are also on board. Burger King has a MySpace profile for their mascot. Automobile manufacturers have pages for some of their brands such as Honda Element, Scion and Toyota Yaris.
One thing is common, though – their MySpace profiles are all about branding (after all, you can’t use MySpace to sell directly). More than that, these businesses do not use an “in your face” type of selling, but uses a more subtle and softer approach. It’s not “buy me, buy me, buy me” but more “get to know me and you’ll like me.”
I am not the MySpace crowd; I’m at the age when I don’t need to post my profile to meet new unseen friends on the Internet. But the question of how to capture the attention of social networking users for a product or service is something that every small business needs to start thinking about.