There is this website on the internet called Alexa that has a toolbar that ranks websites “ built on the principle that timely and relevant information is essential to a vital web experience” (Alexa, 2011). The higher the rank, the more relevant and widely visited the site is. Wikipedia has a table/list of social networking websites that are arranged according to its Alexa Ranking. The top 5 players are Facebook (Alexa rank #2), Twitter, (#10), LinkedIn (#17), Flickr (#33), and Vkontakte (#37) as can be seen on Exhibit 1.Facebook is clearly the #1 social networking website today.
Their website press section boasts of more than 500 million active users with 50% of this logging on every day (“ Statistics, ” n.d. ). Imagine 250 million users logging on to a single website each day. That is a mine of information right there, for brands to tap and for advertisers to target. Companies have started to create their Facebook pages to host fans and followers, and to have a venue to update everyone who’ s a Friend with the goings-on for that brand/company. An example would be Sephora’ s Facebook page where they update all the members and friends of Sephora with new product releases, promotions, free samples, and store events. Twitter, who just celebrated its fifth year of existence on March 21, 2011, has about “ 190 million users twitting 65 million times a day” (Schonfeld, 2010).
A really interesting example of the use of Twitter as a social networking platform is by Zappos, a quite successful online retailer very well known for its exceptional customer service with a corporate culture that is centred on delivering happiness to customers (Balwani, 2009).
Customers and followers of the Zappos Twitter account get a daily dose of news and updates that give them an inside look into the company’ s goings-on. Sometimes a twist comes from no less than its own CEO. See exhibit 3. Most of the social networking platforms performed by companies could very well be centred on these top two websites. A close third is LinkedIn with 55 million users (Mccorvey, 2010).
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