In the past year, social networking has clearly exploded to the point that it has become almost mainstream. I read an interesting article on emarketer.com that announced Facebook had finally surpassed and taken the number one spot from MySpace in the social networking site list. Facebook’s growth is due in part to the fact that it reaches a wider audience than MySpace, which tends to skew a bit younger. More and more people are realizing that Facebook presents a viable approach to reaching out to new customers and should be a part of the marketing mix. From May 2008 to May 2009, Facebook’s traffic grew by 97%, while MySpace actually saw a 5% drop. More and more marketers are discovering the value in Facebook. But what the article didn’t talk about, which I found equally interesting, was that Twitter grew by 2,681%! Granted, it doesn’t even come close to Facebook with unique visits, but in one year its uniqueness is nipping at the heels of the top two social networks – yes, the microblogging site ranked third, ahead of other sites like Digg, LinkedIn, and others. Twitter is unique because you can follow who you want – but it also keeps you honest. If you are truly shouting out 140 characters worth of promotion every single time you tweet, you’ll quickly lose your followers. You have to work at retaining your customers, tweeting valuable information, answers, and ideas. Sounds pretty similar to retaining loyal customers in general, doesn’t it?
Note: What started out as a fun way to connect with people has turned into a “must” for today’s businesses. when a recent online survey by msn asked more than four thousand people “can online social networks boost business?” the answer was a resounding “yes!!!” 73 percent of the people polled see social media as a great business opportunity.