Ranking Social Networking Sites: Which Ones Make the Cut?

By: Shama Hyder

Fellow blogger and reader, Mark Salinas, asked this question:

“I have yet to explore the world of Facebook or Myspace for that matter. I guess with so many different avenues or options if you will…..what are the advantages of Facebook vs. any other? Does it have a stronger presence with Google, is an easier interface to navigate through, is the infrastructure reliable (unlike Twitter)?”

Mark-Thank you for the fantastic questions. These questions keep coming up in my presentations and speaking engagements as well. They have led to this article!

LinkedIn- ***

Pros: A professional crowd, great place to get and give recommendations, allows for an interactive online resume.

Cons: Too static-can’t make out a person’s personality, can’t reach out with ease, level of interaction between members is fairly low.

How to Use it: LinkedIn gets 3 stars. Not a great marketing or relationship building tool. Use it to build a “professional resume” online and get feedback from colleagues, clients, and bosses. Spend no more than 30 minutes a month.

MySpace- **

Pros: Well established, huge number of users, flexible.

Cons: Lot of musicians, kids, and hippies (okay, so that’s an exaggeration and not necessarily a con-but it’s not a perfect B2B market.) Lax security. My inkling is that most users are looking for relationships-and not to network for business reasons.

How to Use it: 2 stars here. Use it ONLY if 1) you already have a profile, etc. 2) Your target market uses MySpace. Don’t use it if you are in the B2B market or need to target professionals. If you do use it, make sure your profile is very professional and shows no signs that you are looking for more (read: romance)…unless, ofcourse, you are.

Twitter- **

Pros: Easy to setup and use, lots of marketers and PR folks use it

Cons: Experiences lots of down time, can be addictive

How to Use it: 2 stars here. Setup a profile, and follow people you care to listen to and share with. Write a new blog post? Hosting an event? Share it on Twitter. Just don’t spend more than 15 minutes a day on it.

Facebook- ****

Pros: Flexible, clean interface, lots of applications, easy to interact, build community and market

Cons: Spammers are now catching on to the coolness of Facebook, applications that you wish were never created (i.e., buy your friends, virtual zombie bites…this list is long).

How to Use it: Definite 4 stars! Setup a profile that conveys your brand. Add friends. Network. Find JV partners. Build community. Read: Top 10 Ways to Use Facebook to Market your Business for Free.

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5 Comments
  1. Nice summary of the most visible SN tools out there. I agree with your assessment of Linked-In, it’s way to static.

    Twitter is ok, but it marketing value is questionable. With Summise (http://summize.com/) I wonder if there might not be an opportunity to slip in occasional thread related ads…? to increase it’s marketing potential.

    Facebook is my SN tool of choice. it does have it’s problems (i.e. the annoying add friend apps) but it does seem to be settling down onto an ok advertising strategy. The contextualised ads on the left, under the search and app list works fairly well.

    Regards,

    Steve @ http://www.worklifeinnovation.com/blog

  2. Shama,

    Great post! I tend to agree with your rankings. Here’s my take:

    LinkedIn is a must have, but is not the place where entrepreneurs will get the most traction.

    Twitter was cool and useful..until it kept going down and experiencing so many technical issues. I haven’t given up on it yet, but I am not going to invest more time until they fix the tech issues.

    MySpace – Too hard to maintain your professionalism and your brand. Unless you are a musician or a band that needs the youth to spread your message.

    Facebook – what can I say? It rocks! Seriously, I can document many examples of new connections, new opportunities and new clients that have resulted from the time I spend there. I give it 5 out of 4 stars.

    Keep up the great work!

    Elizabeth

  3. Shama, I give LinkedIn a little more credit. The past week I’ve been involved in my LinkedIn project, contacting all Age of Conversation II authors and inviting them to my LinkedIn network.

    I have made several new personal communications, received a couple of blog links, and have some new possible business connections. In fact, I found your blog because you accepted my LinkedIn invitation.

    Thanks for the great analysis.

  4. Hi Shama,

    I like the choice of social networks that you compared. They definitely are the biggest players and you provide some great core insight about the pros and cons of each one. I think that Myspace should get a 3 star because of the number of users it has and the demographic that it reaches. While Facebook reaches primarily the student market, Myspace reaches pretty much everyone else. Though the user-interface is no where near as clean as Facebook’s, I would have to say that the sheer number of users allows it to reach Star-3 status :P

    Since we’re both members of BC, I want to invite you to my FD Career private beta:

    http://FDcareer.com
    Code: junloayza

    FD Career is a website where you can research companies and contribute by adding your comments about companies. This is a very early private beta, so you’ll most likely encounter a lot of bugs. Throughout the summer, we’ll be releasing more features like the FD RPG and FD Answers.

    Would love it if you tried it out, added your contributions, and gave me your feedback.

    Thanks Shama! Look forward to hearing back from you.

    – Jun

  5. This is a nice break down on a very popular topic. In fact, Tori Deaux of MindTweaks and I just finished a series on social media and temperament. If you have time to look it over, I’d appreciate any feedback you would be willing to offer. Here is the link to the original article in the series.
    elementaltruths.com/2008/07/04/temperaments-and-social-media-guest-author-tori-deaux/
    Thanks,
    Reg Adkins

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