Social networks are relatively new vehicles for communication, and, more recently, commercial trade and promotion. It’s important to remember that it’s the users who are driving the evolution, not the organizations behind the networks. The brands that have most successfully engaged with this audience are those who understand what social network users gain from sites such as MySpace: what they find valuable, what they are prepared to share with their friends and how they want advertisers to acknowledge and reward them are key.
Charities/NGOs/Advertisers can learn from brands (from one-off fashion designers to high street mobile networks) who are using social networks as environments for audience building, trendsetting, entertainment and commerce. Whether it is Pepsi enlisting contemporary British musicians to guide MySpace users through new music or Grime emcee, JME selling over 32,000 T-shirts promoting his MySpace profile; social networks represent enormous opportunities for major brands to sell and market themselves.
But importantly it is quality, not quantity that counts. Brands with a diverse online presence risk sending mixed messages so must consolidate their digital efforts to optimise impact within social networks. Time should be spent using search engine options to ensure awareness of profiles; search engine optimisation should be leveraged to ensure prominent search results (ie: the top of the first pages of search results); and, like websites themselves, social network profiles benefit from being consistently managed and maintained.
- To communicate easily and for free with friends and family
- To organise social life quickly and efficiently
- To access entertainment (radio stations, video clips, indie TV channels, music videos, comedy, poetry, blogs etc…)
- Discover new talent, products, social trends