The Internet: Social Networking

Social networking is undoutably big business on the internet. I mean, as of March 2010, there is over 400 million active Facebook accounts. Facebook is used as a free tool to contact friends and family, as are other social networking sites, such as Myspace, Twitter and Bebo.

Myspace, was the first to be used to promote services, mostly music artists. Where they could set up a free account and stream music to visitors to their site. This was music getting back to its routes, where you would pass cassettes of your favourite music on to your friends. And Myspace quickly became the best way to stay in contact with favourite bands as well, with being able to add bands such as My Chemical Romance and The Editors as friends. This improved contact with bands, made people become more involved in music.

And this concept has spread to other sites, and to other types of promotion. For instance, fast food outlet, McDonalds’ Facebook page as over 2,000,000 fans. This means that the groups can send offers to the people who like their business, and to the people who are their customer base. This reaches people, who may not read daily newspapers or don’t watch a lot of tv. And the best part is, it is free. Doesn’t cost McDonald’s a penny.

Then Twitter, which is now being actively used in offices, where people can send each other short messages to discuss information. It means that rather than having long distance calls, which can cost a fortune, they can ‘tweet’ each other, and it costs nothing. Twitter is widely used to promote businesses or offers, where again, if someone follows you, you can send them out new updates or offers. Which again, closes the gap between customer and business. And the more involved the customer feels with the company, the more likely it is, that they will use them for work purposes.

And yet, when doing online advertising, too many companies still overlook the power of social networking. Some think it is just for teenagers, some think it is a fad. But fad or not, free advertising is free advertising, and businesses should learn to uses this new media.

If you run a business and considering social networking to advertise, think of this: More people under the age of 25 use the internet and social networking sites, than they use any other type of media, including TV.

Crazy that isn’t it. If that is the case, how benifical is it to still spend so much money, advertising on TV and in newspapers?

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