Many people are aware of the buzz behind social networking sites such as MySpace, and Facebook, and you may have even seen them discussed in the news (both online and traditional media).. So what are Social Networking sites? Wikipedia defines Social Networking sites as: a social network service focuses on building and verifying online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities, or who wish to explore the interests and activities of others, and which requires the use of software. Most social network services are primarily web based and provide various ways for users to interact, such as chat, messaging, email, video, voice chat, file sharing, blogging, discussion groups, and so on. The main types of social networking services are those which contain directories of specific categories (such as former classmates), means to connect with friends (usually with self-description pages), and recommender systems linked to trust. Popular methods now combine many of these, with MySpace, Bebo and Facebook being the most widely used in 2007.

How can you utilise Social Networking for your business?

For some businesses, Social Networking sites can be an effective way to increase brand awareness, and to promote what your business offers. While Social Networking has not always been entirely effective for all businesses, based on the demographics of sites such as MySpace and Facebook, the types of businesses for which it can be very effective are - fashion, modeling, beauty, bars and clubs. However with the 35-54 age group using MySpace trending upwards in terms of visitor traffic, this leaves opportunity for any type of business to use MySpace as an effective promotional tool.

Demographic Information

comScore data available on MySpace's demographics indicates a mature, upscale clientele, with the majority of MySpace members being 35 years and older. While most MySpace members have household incomes of $40,000 to $59,999, the number of those with household incomes of $100,000 or more number 15,641,000, according to the comScore data.

Worldwide Growth of Selected* Social Networking Sites

June 2007 vs. June 2006 Total Worldwide Home/Work Locations Among Internet Users Age 15+ Source: comScore World Metrix

Social Networking Site

Total Unique Visitors (000)

Jun-06

Jun-07

% Change

MySpace

66,401

114,147

72

Facebook

14,083

52,167

270

Hi5

18,098

28,174

56

Friendster

14,917

24,675

65

Orkut

13,588

24,120

78

Bebo

6,694

18,200

172

Tagged

1,506

13,167

774