Boosting Business+Profits Online

Top Social Media Sites

In a previous post, I talked about how businesses are leveraging social media sites to connect with more prospects and customers online.

top-social-networking-sitesSo what are some of the top social media sites today that business owners can tap into?

In a recent study, eMarketer, a market research firm, ranked the popularity of social networking sites in the US and came up with the top 20.

Interestingly, as of Mary 2009, Facebook has replaced MySpace as the most popular site among internet users. Facebook’s unique visitors doubled to over 70 million in the 12 months ending May 2009.

Also, while Twitter showed the most dramatic growth over this time period, its visitor level is still less than a third of Facebook and MySpace.

For businesses looking to utilize social media marketing, it may be useful to take a deeper look at the top 3 sites and their visitor demographics.

1. Facebook

facebook-demographics1Online since March of 1997, Facebook is the 4th most trafficked site on the internet, with users spending an average of 26 minutes a day on the site (based on Alexa statistics).

The site appears to attract a younger more affluent demographic, with a heavy representationof users aged between 18-24.

2. MySpace

Ranked 11th by traffic, MySpace users spend an average of 19.5 minutes daily on the site, which was started in 1996. Much like Facebook, it tends to attract young adults (relative less affluent however than Facebook users).

facebook-demographics

3. Twitter

Unlike the top 2 sites above, Twitter users spend only 8.5 minutes each day on the site which has a traffic rank of 25.  The site tends to attract a slightly older audience, those between the ages of 25-34 with males being more over represented than females.

This quick analysis shows that knowing the user demographics of these sites is critical in helping business owners determine if this is the right target audience for their products or services.

Since social media marketing requires a significant time commitment, rather than following the herd and targeting the top ‘most popular’ sites, it pays to spend time researching each social networking site’s audience before jumping in.

Tools such as Alexa, Compete or Quantcast provides useful  statistics and site demographics which businesses can use to conduct market and competitve research.

Are You Keeping Your Business A Secret?

The world wide web has become increasingly crowdedtotalwebsites and competitive.  A survey conducted by Netcraft reported that the web has doubled over the last 2 years, and there are now over 180 million web sites on the internet.

With so much competition on the web, it is no longer possible to throw up a web site and expect to be found by potential customers.  Business owners with web sites can no longer keep their sites a ’secret’ – they need their sites to get found by showing up in search engine results.

In today’s online space, Google is the 800 pound gorilla that confers ranking and determines the authority of web sites. A web site’s search ranking has become critically important given that 80% of online searchers do not actually go beyond the first page of Google’s search results. So if you are not ranking on the first page, the chances of getting potential customers to visit your site is dramatically reduced.

search_behaviourIn addition, with increasingly sophisticated web users, online search behavior has also changed. Results from the ‘Think Eyetracking’ study shown here highlight these differences. Unlike search behavior in 2005, online searchers in 2008 focused primarily on the top 5 results on the first page, with the most clicks going to the top 3 ranking sitesThese findings are supported by a Cornell University study which found that the top 3 Google results get 79% of all clicks.

What this all means for business owners is that their web site not only needs to be found, but it needs to show up in the top 5 positions on the first page of Google to really matter.

Putting together a well thought out and concerted effort to get to the top of Google’s rankings is more important now than ever before.

Business owners typically face some big challenges when it comes to search engine optimization:

  • Often, Google doesn’t even know their sites exist (this is VERY common)
  • Even if Google knows about their site, it never shows up in search engine listings
  • Even if their site does show up in some kind of search, it’s hardly ever the “keyword phrase” that the owner would like
  • Even if the owner could dictate to Google what keywords to show the site for, most business owners don’t know which words or phrases are the money makers!

In shopping for Search Engine Marketing services, business owners should also bear in midn that aggressive ranking efforts done the wrong way can even get your site de-indexed, which means that it will be removed from Google’s index and will not show up at all in any search results.

Therefore, when working with a Search Engine Marketing consultant, make sure that they are being totally transparent about their methods; showing you exactly what they will do, and why it helps to propel you to the top of Google.

Boosting Business+Profits Online