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Technology Report: Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites such as Myspace, Facebook and Twitter have been around for a while, but it seems that only in recent years have businesses started to take notice of the potential they could have on marketing and promotions. For those not familiar with these social networking sites, here’s a quick bullet point dissection of the current top three.

facebook-logo1

  • Started in 2004

  • According to compete.com, Facebook is currently ranked as the #1 social network site by monthly visits; 1,191,373,339 monthly visits and 68,557,534 unique visitors (Jan ’09)

  • Started out as a tool for college students but has since expanded to allow anyone who is 13 or older to join (under the stipulation that 13 to 18 year olds can join only if he or she is in high school or college)

  • Uniform structured pages that are easy to look through and find items of interest

  • Businesses can create pages for their products and allow users to become fans; users can also form interest groups

  • Some examples of businesses in our industry that use this tool are: InterContinental Hotels and Resort, Ted’s Montana Grill, select Holiday Inn Hotels




myspace_logo1

  • Started in 2003;  main rival is Facebook

  • According to compete.com, Myspace is currently ranked as the #2 social network sites by monthly visits; 810,153,536 monthly visits and 58,555,800 unique visitors (Jan ’09)

  • Especially well suited to musicians or campaigns with videos and music

  • Elements of the layout are more customizable than Facebook and Twitter

  • According to compete.com it is the only site compared here that has decreased from its previous rank (Myspace previous rank: 1; Facebook previous rank: 2; Twitter previous rank: 22)

  • Some examples of businesses in our industry that use this tool are: pubs and bars that feature live music, Amway Hotel Corp.  (select hotels)




twitter-logo

  • Started in 2006

  • According to compete.com, Twitter is currently ranked as the #3 social network sites by monthly visits; 54,218,731 monthly visits and 5,979,052 unique visitors (Jan ’09)

  • Allows users to post a 140 character long blurb on what they are doing at that moment

  • Users can follow other users’ updates and have followers of their own

  • Twitter’s ability to push out updates to its users via cell phones and Blackberries is a key strategy point

  • The downside to utilizing Twitter for business is that it has to be constantly maintained in order to satisfy its followers

  • Some examples of businesses in our industry that use this tool: Maggiano’s, Marriott, Luxor Las Vegas, and InterContinental Hotels and Resorts



There is no doubt that many people are using social networking sites and the demographic age range may surprise you. It is no longer confined to the teen and college age set as more and more people are starting to use them to reconnect with old friends, network for jobs, and interact with their families. A lot of viral marketing opportunities are present in social networking sites; creativity and choosing the right site for your campaign is key.