A new report published by Nielsen describes some incredible statistics related to the growth of Social Networks (or Member Communities) on the internet: Global Faces and Networked Places.
- Two-thirds of the world’s Internet population visit a social network or blogging site
- This sector accounts for nearly 10% of all internet time
- This sector ranks higher than email as fourth most popular online sector (see below)
This probably reaffirms anecdotal evidence of older demographics newly discussing their “Facebook page”. However, what is not as widely understood is the headway that has been made in terms of time.
“The staggering increase in the amount of time people are spending on these sites is changing the way people spend their time online and has ramifications for how people behave, share and interact within their normal daily lives.”
Another interesting way to think of this increase in terms of internet “mindshare”:
“A year ago ‘Member Communities’ accounted for one in every 15 online minutes globally – now it accounts for one in every 11.”
But it gets more interesting, and more relevant to electronic design. Common wisdom within the industr is that the senior demographics do not participate in online member communities. Times are a-changin’ - the highest level of growth is in the three demographic ranges from 35 years old and up beyond 64.
While anecdotal evidence points to an increased desire of these demographics to access the photographs and videos of younger relatives, that’s not the point. As with all of these web 2.0 phenomena, consumer adoption and growth will drive corporate adoption as users become familiar with use models and more comfortable with the degree of access.
So, does this mean that every company should rush out and create a Facebook page? I think they should consider one as part of a comprehensive internet marketing strategy. But I would tell them that this should not be their primary online channel for two very closely related reasons.
“Much like a friendship, marketing on social networks requires continual investment – in terms of time and effort as opposed to financial – to be of value to both parties.
So, use Facebook as a signpost to your community on a Professional Community Platform - that would be Xuropa - and build your community there. Even better, place your product at the center of your community!
This post was written by James Colgan on March 9, 2009