Recent statistics from Nielsen and other forums suggest the Facebook use is declining. After its meteoric growth last year, the social network is beginning to show signs of slower growth. Is it a case that the masses are spending more time on other forums or is it simply that social media is evolving?
In April both Facebook and MySpace saw a decline in traffic in the US. I don’t know about you but any time I try to grow my friends on MySpace I discover that the vast majority of users haven’t updated their profile this year (or last in many cases!) – a sure sign that the networking site is less popular. For Facebook the decline is less apparent and in my opinion we are seeing a change in user profile (kids fleeing as grown ups and professionals with less time to play take over).
At the same time we see LinkedIn and Ning taking off as more and more professionals recognize the value of virtual networking to grow their business. Both are aimed specifically at business professionals and have little of the fluff associated with MySpace in particular. New social networkers are looking for tools to help them become more productive not tools that distract.
Micro blogs are also winning. The most popular by far is Twitter whose growth has more than doubled in the US since the start of 2008. Again people are recognizing that pared down applications can help spread the word rather than simply increase the noise.
Its interesting to note that Social networks are not declining across the board, its simply that the way people use them is evolving. The popularity of digital social networking is increasing as more and more people use their phones to network.
So what does all this mean for marketing? It shows that Internet marketers in particular and any companies active in these forums need to be listening and aware of trends ahead of the pack so that they can adapt and evolve in synch and not get left behind. They need to be versatile and ready to change and adapt to evolving tastes and habits. Lastly its important never to put your eggs in one basket – if you’re hanging your social media marketing hat on Facebook alone then think again – it may be time to look at Twitter or LinkedIn too.