More marketers turning to social networking sites

ClickZNews reports, according to a recent study by Jupiter Research, more brand marketers are planning to use Social Marketing in 2007.

Adoption of social marketing tactics stems from the discovery "30 percent of frequent social networkers trust their peers’ opinions when making a major purchase decision, but only 10 percent trust an advertisement," said Emily Riley, JupiterResearch analyst and lead author of the report.

There’s nothing enlightening about the fact that Gen Y is most active on the social networking scene and they typically trust their friends more than corporate spiel ie. advertisements.

Brand involvement with social networking sites may be a new norm, but it’s still early days according to Diane Rinaldo, senior director of the retail category at Yahoo. "We’re very much in the early stages of this, and there have been some brands really getting out there and testing, being adventurous, and sometimes creating their own social networks."

Savvy marketers either create the platform to effectively foster their brand or they follow the direction their audience is going, either way works well. Most of the current social media sites are geared towards a younger audience so, brand marketers interested in this target market, are either going to create social networking communities for their own brands or use the existing online social spaces to market their brands. It’s good to hear some are already there.

The shift of brands toward this channel creates the issue of noise in the space. Riley said advertisers are fearful of clutter, which will be a primary concern over the next year. "[Social networking sites] are not always effective for everybody, some advertisers have a brand that works well with a marketable video. Before an advertiser decides to use social networking, they have to think about how to attract the target audience and think about who they are targeting before attaching a brand message," Riley said.

One can safely assume that the social networking sites like MySpace, FaceBook are highly popular among Gen Y . So, if you are not marketing to this demographic, which is currently active on the online social networking scene, then you are better off with traditional media. Marketers have to use what works best for their audience, irrespective of the medium. There is no substitute for good ol’ fashioned "understanding your customer".

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