Social Networking

bebo.jpgUser behaviour over the internet is constantly changing as new developments and ideas capture the internet audience. There has been a significant change in user behaviour over the last few years since Social Networking websites have found themselves on the internet. This was particularly evident amongst the mainstream brand and media websites who found themselves scrambling to capitalise on the increasing popularity of these sites.

The most popular Social Networking websites are MySpace, Bebo and Facebook. Bebo and MySpace are the most popular, with fast mover Facebook on their tail.

Hitwise reports in June 07 that Bebo ranked 5th across all online industries, wheras MySpace ranked 8th and not far behind was Facebook, who ranked 14th.

myspace.jpgShopping and Classified websites such those in the Music section have seen a 121% increase in traffic from Social Networking websites year on year. Play.com received a 55% increase from MySpace referrals more than Yahoo!

Apparel and Accessory websites saw a 98% increase with TopShop and ASOS receiving twice more traffic from Social Networking websites than Yahoo! and MSN combined.

So what is the attraction of Social Networking websites? Sharing information, ideas and common interests through your own online profile is appealing. Making new friends and signing up for social gatherings opens up new events and new friends which people would not have usually found the opportunity for.

So with the growing popularity of these Social Networking websites, how can commercial companies benefit from them? Well, the truth would be, not all can, however, there are some industry sectors that with the right approach could find an increase in their online traffic simply because they took the time to participate in these Social Networks.

TopShop found that MySpace was the second highest referring website to send traffic to their website. This was more than the traffic they received from Yahoo! and MSN combined! When you read something like that, then it is certainly makes you stand up and take notice. TopShop have an Community profile set up on MySpace, this includes a section where people are able to discuss new fashions and shopping ideas. People found this interesting and participated in the group. TopShop found the right approach and it paid off.

facebook.jpgSimilar sites to TopShop will not be experiencing the same because they have not yet participated in these Social Networking websites. Until they do, they will be left behind, because it seems that Social Networking websites are the way forward and should be considered as a part of your online marketing campaigns.

Even if you “think” participating in Social Networking sites will be of no benefit to you, it is still worth giving it a go, and as the saying goes, you’ll never know unless you try it.