Social networks are the shiny new toy and every marketer wants to be on one. First it was Myspace, then Facebook and now LinkedIn is emerging as a new opportunity for marketers.
While there is no doubt that these networks provide great opportunities for marketers, the question remains, which is the right social network to tap into for your marketing campaign?
The first step is to consider your overall marketing strategy – your marketing objectives and target audience. The second step is to look at the social networks and assess social networks for 1) The right target audience and 2) the opportunity for marketers to engage.
Each social network has different demographics and more importantly, different opportunities for marketers to play. Core functionality and terms of service may limit how marketers can participate in different social networks.
If you aren’t familiar with these social networks, a simple way to think about them is:
Facebook – Where you connect with your friends, play games, post photos and check out what old high-school friends are up to. You can only connect with people you know.
LinkedIn – The business social network – the focus of LinkedIn is on business connections and maintaining your online resume and business contacts. LinkedIn is often used by sales professionals and head-hunters.
MySpace – Still a large and relevant social network for connecting with friends. Popular for use by bands, artists and musicians. Allows searching and browsing to connect with people you don’t know – often considered a place for “online hookups”.
Size and Importance
Facebook is clearly the largest social network, followed by Myspace with LinkedIn as a distant third. LinkedIn however, is the quickest growing of the three networks.
Target Audiences Compared
Anderson Analytics recently released a comparison of users on Facebook, LinkedIn and Myspace. When determining which social network is right for your marketing mix, start with a solid look at the user make up of each network, and compare that to your target audience.
· 77 Million Facebookers
· Very “average” (probably because user base is so large)
· More likely to be married (40%)
· More likely to be white (80%)
· More likely to be retired (6%)
·Second-highest social network average income $61k
· Average user has 121 connections
· Late adopters of social media
· 75% say FaceBook is their favorite site
· Young, fun and fleeing
· Report declining use/visits
· Typically join for fun
·More interested in entertaining friends, comedy, humor and video games
· Less into exercise than any other social network
· Mostly post content about hobbies or photos of families/friends
· Lowest average income $44k
· Average of 131 connections
· More likely black (9%) or Hispanic (7%)
· More likely single 60%
· More likely students 23%
·Oldest average age
· More male than female (57% male)
· Highest average income $89k
· Typically join for business or work – keeping in touch with business networks, job searching, business development and recruiting top reasons for joining
· Like news, employment information, sports and politics
· More likely to go to gym, spas, yoga, golf and tennis
· Own more electronics (excluding video game systems)
· More interested than others in gambling and soap operas
Stay tuned for part 2 where we’ll discuss the functionality of each network as it pertains to marketers – how you can use each social network and the limitations of each.