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Breaking Into Social Networking

Social networking has made a lot of noise the past year. Sites like MySpace and Friendster have been on the cover of every business magazine around the world. What’s all the fuss?

Social networking sites have become a valuable way to take advantage of word of mouth marketing and harness it for the online community. Social networking sites enable users to instantly share links, pictures, audio, and video with each other. A video posted by one user can reach millions in a matter of days – it’s that powerful.
MySpace, which was originally created to target the Friendster crowd who were unhappy paying a fee for access, struck a chord with the independent music crowd. People began sharing their favorite audio files and a subculture was born. Today while MySpace certainly makes room for the music scene, it appeals to a much broader audience as well.

So should you get a MySpace page?

There are literally thousands of social networking sites. Each site has their own community of users with different demographics, interests, and buying habits. While MySpace may not be the site for you, it may be in a business owner’s best interests to research potential sites and explore options.

Here are the top ten social networking sites as reported by Hitwise.com
1 MySpace www.myspace.com
2 Facebook www.facebook.com
3 Bebo www.bebo.com
4 BlackPlanet.com www.blackplanet.com
5 Xanga www.xanga.com
6 iMeem www.imeem.com
7 Yahoo! 360 360.yahoo.com
8 Classmates www.classmates.com
9 hi5 www.hi5.com
10 Tagged www.tagged.com

If you’ve decided to leap into the world of social networking there are a few basic strategies to follow, interestingly enough they follow basic SEO strategies only here the acronym is SMO, Social Media Optimization.

#1 Increase your linkability. The sites that get the most press are the sites that provide the most interesting content. Content doesn’t have to be written, online it can be audio or video files too. The more incoming links you have the faster the word will spread about your page, website, and business.

#2 Make tagging easy. People search for content in search engines like they search for content on social networking sites. Tagging makes it easier for them to find and identify you.

#3 Content, content, content. In order for your social networking page or site to be interesting and attract attention there must be an abundance of valuable content. The content needs to provide a benefit to readers and be entertaining. Capture the interest of your social networking community and word will spread like wildfire.
It is the speed and raw numbers that attract so many business owners to social networking sites, however simply putting up a site and throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks isn’t going to work. Like any marketing campaign, it takes time, a strategy and research to find the right site and approach for your business and your target market. Social networking can be a very successful form of word of mouth marketing, if approached correctly.

 

 

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