Is your company taking advantage of social networking?

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Do you have a Facebook page? Do you have a video on MySpace? Do you Twitter? Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you care? You should.

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August 6, 2009

Do you have a Facebook page? Do you have a video on MySpace? Do you Twitter? Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you care? You should.

The time Americans are spending on social network sites is up 83 percent from a year ago, according to a Nielsen Online (www.nielsen-online.com) report released in June. The marketing and consumer information company found the total minutes spent on Facebook increased nearly 700 percent, climbing from 1.7 billion minutes in April 2008 to 13.9 billion in April 2009. Twitter.com saw the biggest gain for the same year-over-year period, increasing 3,712 percent from 7,865 minutes to 299,836 minutes.

Why should you care about these social networking sites? According to the Nielsen report “Global Faces and Networked Places,” two-thirds of the world’s Internet population visits a social network or blogging site. This sector now accounts for about 10 percent of all Internet time.

Nielsen reports that Member Communities, which includes social networking and blogging Web sites, have eclipsed personal e-mail to become the world’s fourth most popular online sector, exceeded by only search, general interest portals and software manufacturers’ applications. Worldwide, these Member Communities have experienced a growth rate more than twice that of any of the other four largest sectors. These Member Communities globally account for one in every 11 online minutes.

Telling your story online
Nielsen indicates that as the value of the online industry is increasingly measured by time spent rather than pages viewed, there could be a significant shift in the amount of advertising revenue from traditional online media to social media sites.

Ford Motor Co. has selected 100 people to be its Agents of the Fiesta Movement. Over 4,000 applicants posted videos on YouTube, which received more than 640,000 views. Although the Fiesta is not scheduled for launch until 2010, the agents will spend the next six months driving their own Fiestas, completing monthly missions and sharing their experiences on a variety of social networks.

Still not convinced that you have a story to tell? Then consider that the greatest growth for Facebook has occurred among people that are 35-49 years old (+24.1 million), according to Nielsen. Got your attention? Now consider that Facebook has added nearly twice as many 50-64 year old people (+13.6 million) than it has added those under 18 years old (+7.3 million). Nielsen reports that 33 percent of Facebook’s global audience is 35-49 years old and almost 25 percent is over 50 years old.

Social networks offer you an opportunity to target your products to all demographic groups. Nielsen said fan sites or sponsored groups are one of the more successful ways of social network marketing. These fan sites, according to Nielsen, can generate brand affinity by providing opportunities for interactivity and adding value through special offers, sneak previews and co-creation of content.