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Is obsession with social networking good for marketers?
According to a new survey from metrics firm Anderson Analytics, consumers just can't get enough of their favorite social networks. But, is that good for marketers? And how do social marketers raise enough awareness to become socially famous - but not infamous?
First, the statistics. According to the A.A. survey more than 70% of Facebook regulars say they 'can't live without' Facebook. However only about 65% of MySpace users said the same thing. This should come as no surprise to followers of social networking news as Facebook has been working to take over MySpace's top spot for several months - and has in fact taken the top slot several weeks in a row. This survey finds that Facebook is now the 'most valuable' social networks for 75% of respondents; 65% of MySpacers see their network as the most valuable.
What are consumers doing in the social space? For those under 35, having fun. The younger set sees social networking as a fun way to stay in touch whereas their older counterparts (those over 36) see social nets as a necessary tool to stay in touch.
How many consumers are networking? Just over one-third (36%/110 million consumers), with most spending time on the Big Three - Facebook, MySpace and Twitter - and most (61%) being under the age of 35.
But, is this a good thing for marketers?
In the short term, yes. But think about this: until about six months ago, MySpace was the top dog in the social space with Facebook and Twitter distant seconds. Now Facebook is top dog and Twitter is gaining ground every day. This is an indicator that social consumers are a bit fickle and will change 'favorites' quickly depending on circumstances.
For that reason, marketers need to really research the different social spaces and define a clear reason for being in the social space. Simple having followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook MySpace isn't enough. A brand needs to have a voice, a message and a way to interact with friends even after the social network loses favor.
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