There are probably more social networking sites out there then there are grains of sand on a beach. Of course I’m joking, but the idea that everyone is trying to get into the “social networking game” isn’t.
Social networking is big business.
Well the simple answer is: they make money.
- They generate huge traffic – They are visited daily by a huge number of people who enjoy using the site and repeatedly go back to and stay on the website (raving fans, etc)
- The public/fans of the site build brand awareness for you, virally – The more people like and use the site, the more likely they will spread the message virally.
- Ability to create and focus on niches – With ning, facebook and others, you can have a social networking group targeted for a particular brand/product/service/action.
- New scope for advertising on a personal level – Advertising on social networking sites might be in its infancy, but I’m sure advertisers will be trying to work hard with the facebook’s of this world to provide adverts that are geared towards your profile, targeting you with offers all based on data you put you in your profile
These are just some of the examples why social networking sites are popular, and why big business is increasingly interested in social networking sites.
Should you get a social networking site?
The questions you should ask are:
- What is your social networking site for? What problem is it solving?
- Is it just for generating cash? OR are you using it to increase the awareness of your brand/website?
- How do you intend to compete with Facebook, ning and the others? They dominate the marketplace? Just being there isn’t enough — you need a clear plan on how you will compete with the guys at the top
- Can you use existing social networking sites without having to buy software? IE: You could easily create a niche group on ning
Naturally there are more questions to ask, but I feel that the most pressing issue for any business is whether you can compete with the big boys, and what is the ulitmate pay-off? (ie: money, advertising revenue, brand awareness).