2010 Top 5 Social Networking Websites (How To Apply to Your Business)

If you’re using social networking websites to market your business, you always want to keep in mind where your market is going. Chances are, they are going to be involved in at least one of the following websites. I checked out the top 5 social websites recently, and wanted to share with you what I found.

Top 5 Social Networking Sites:

Number 5 – Ning
You may never have heard of Ning, but its slotted in as the 5th most trafficked social networking website. According to Wikipedia, Ning is a social networking site that appeals “to people who want to create their own social networks around specific interests with their own visual design, choice of features and member data.” Ning is a good place for companies that have success on other social networking websites to register. They offer you the opportunity to build a complete custom network, which can really prod viral marketing. The biggest drawback I see right now is that it is a paid membership site. So, you do have to pay to create your own site centered on a particular idea or niche (which I believe we used to call “websites”). I’m curious to see how this takes off, and if they decide to offer a free option as well.

Number 4 – LinkedIn
Not surprising to be in the top 5. It’s still really the only social networking site dedicated to connecting business professionals together. It’ll be interesting to see how it fares now that sites like Facebook and Twitter are giving business owners a lot more resources to market themselves to a greater audience. Also, a lot of people are starting to complain about how stubborn LinkedIn is about listening to its users, and adding new features. Unless LinkedIn chooses to evolve soon, I believe they will be replaced for business to business needs.

Number 3 – Twitter
No surprises to be one of the top three. Twitter really has started to gain a lot of popularity recently. The developers did a good job of making sure that it was easy to connect Twitter to everything, and allow you to send out a blast of your content in the smallest way possible.

Internally, a lot of companies are starting to use Twitter accounts to keep each other updated through the day, avoiding setting up a paid service that does basically the same thing. This has helped said companies run more efficiently, and keep in touch using the internet.

Twitter is launching a lot of new features for local businesses, so will probably continue to grow for the business person’s need.

Number 2 – MySpace
I’m going to be honest here, I was shocked that MySpace is still getting the second most traffic in online social networking. Granted it’s not too much more than Twitter, but it still seems like no one goes on MySpace anymore. I did a little research and found out why this is (and the reason your business should stay off of MySpace). A lot of artists and bands still use MySpace music to release information and connect with their fan base. MySpace music is still a huge thing, and pretty much the only thing, MySpace offers that other social networking websites lag on. Once the bands start taking these pages down and moving elsewhere, MySpace is going to have trouble remaining as a website.

Number 1 – Facebook
No surprises here, since if Facebook was a country it would be the third largest country in the world (as far as active users go). Facebook seems like it is going to be around for a while, as it answers the needs that people became obsessed with in using MySpace, however, Facebook learned from MySpace’s mistakes. If you’re new to business social networking, Facebook is becoming a must have to market your business online. Facebook is answering the call of entrepreneurs and business owners, and is seeking to improve the way that a business can interact with its customers.

-Jerry Nihen

The Evolution to Social Networking

Today it’s real, social networking shapes our life. An age which started in the early 2000s with Friendster and Myspace began as websites that allowed you to meet people and check out pictures. With Myspace growing bigger and Facebook joining the game it opened up more possibilities like networking, connecting and sharing. Today with Facebook having won the social race, they have set the standards of networking. Facebook has taken the limits of social networking to becoming your online life. More than Google even, Facebook is your online persona. You have everything you like on Facebook, your pictures, your friends and so much more.

With Facebook you share videos and music. You chat with your friends and pass information. You discover news, music or artists. You express your feelings and more. With all that it makes Facebook addicting. You come back every time to check pictures of your friends, stalk some people (including exs) and see what people are up to.

So with all this, how much more can social websites do? What’s the future of social networking? Facebook seems to think it’s about sharing seamlessly and connecting more easily. Are they right? In their situation, certainly. With no other major player, what they are trying to build for the future seems pretty good.

But is that really the evolution of social networking? In my opinion, not the longer term evolution. Facebook and the other networks have two issues that separate them from what I think will be an evolution of social networking. They are passive websites. What do I mean by that? Well they are mainly typed networks. You want to express yourself, you type it. You want to communicate with your friend, you type. Want to share something type it out and post a link. Well if its something cool. Type to respond to the comments. That’s what I mean by passive.

Secondly it’s not real time. OK, Facebook is fast and you can get responses almost instantly. However it’s still not real time. Say I want to say something to my friend, I type it and then wait for my friend to respond. While if I was physically with him, as soon as I will start talking he will probably retort while I’m talking.

That’s why in my opinion, the evolution to social networking is live networking. What is this? Like real time video social networking. Networking where you video chatting is entrenched in the dna of the social network. You have something to say, start talking on cam and your friends respond in real time. You want to talk with friends; immediately call them and talk. Want to meet people? go into the hunt of meeting people and start connecting. Have something to share like a new song, share it and comment on the song with your friends actively listening to the song with you. Real time gaming. Play angry birds and react with your friends in real time. Imagine all the things you would be able to do. Sharing will be much easier and faster. Communication will be easier and more lively and that is just a little surface I’m scratching here.

Understanding Social Commerce

If you are an online entrepreneur and you haven’t heard the term ‘social commerce’, sit back, relax, and read the rest of this post because understanding social commerce will prove to be extremely important going forward. Social Commerce is really the combination of two online forces and six social heuristics. The online forces are social networking and eCommerce. The six heuristics are social proof, authority, scarcity, like, reciprocity, and consistency. Social commerce provides many different opportunities for the online entrepreneur, and to fully grasp its power – you will need to understand a little bit more about what makes it what it is.

Social proof

When in doubt about making a buying decision, follow what someone else is doing. This is not only true for social commerce, but has been a psychological mindset for years. This is what makes social networking so powerful. If you want to sell more products, you will need to have more people talking about the products and services you provide. When new decision makers aren’t sure about a decision, they follow what others are doing.

Authority

Do you have experts in your industry talking about your products and services? If you don’t, you should. When specialist or people of authority talk about your products or services, this is like gold. If an expert is talking about your product, it must be good right?

Scarcity

The day you tell people that they have a limited time in order to take advantage of a specific offering, they want it. This is a well known selling tactic that has been used throughout the ages and to this day is one of the most effective techniques used in online commerce.

Like

If we like someone, are we more likely to agree with them? If the people we like recommend a product, are we more likely to buy it because they recommended it or because others (people they don’t know) told them to buy it? You know the answer to that one, and this is one of the key features of social networking. You follow those you like, when they recommend something, there is an 85% chance you’ll buy it without doing any research.

Reciprocity

Do you tell friends about deals and specials they would surely benefit from? Most everyone does, and the reasons have a lot to do with reasoning. People are truly nice and they sincerely want to help others, and they will help you if you have a product or service that has provided value for them in one way or another.

Consistency

You will not be known unless you keep your message, brand, products or services in front of the decision makers. You will need to be consistent in all efforts when it comes to social commerce.

Social commerce is nothing more than using all these ingredients in your efforts to create your online presence, and to generate exposure, visibility, and popularity around your brand. This will eventually get interested parties to the products and services you provide, and provide profits never before imagined.