About a year or so back, I wondered what happened to all my friends on MySpace. I knew a lot of them from another social network site that was dwindling, but I could always find them updating their pages on MySpace. They were soon MIA from there as well. I emailed a friend of mine and asked her what was going on. She simply said that everyone was basically migrating to Facebook.
The statistical data shows that MySpace is still the largest and most active social networking site. Hitwise.com has MySpace at number three on their top 20 Website list with a 3.71% market share of internet traffic; Facebook is number six with a 1.65% market share. While MySpace is still number one by clear margins, Facebook has been creeping up over the last 18 months. The anecdotal information seems to bear this out as well. I have been friend requested more and more by friends on Facebook whom I first met on MySpace in the last few months than ever before. I know that my personal perceptions are trumped by data from Hitwise, and this is a debate that’s been going on for at least a year and is still raging, so don’t expect me to definitively settle this at all. However what this really comes down to is the basic marketing maxim of knowing your audience and using the best site for what you need.
If you’re a comedian, an artist, in a band, or made a film, you need a MySpace page. The ability to design your own page template, post your own videos, songs, photos, etc. makes this the ideal site to market your art—whatever that may be. While getting friend requested by people you’ve never heard of can be annoying, for the artist trying to gain an audience it is one of the most beneficial word of mouth methodologies you can use. When I was creating my web series, I used MySpace to put out the casting notices as well as track down a couple of actors that were otherwise unreachable. I was able to gain a specific fan base and even hire a makeup artist for the show as time went on. For all the friending of strippers and bands you have to go through on MySpace, if you are in any kind of artistic field you are going to need this site.
The use of Facebook is different. If you want to track down old high school friends, college friends, business acquaintances, favorite hot dog vendors, you’ll be able to find each other on Facebook. Where you may not realize the page for “~I AM DA BOMB FO’SHO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~” on MySpace is an old college bud, Facebook makes it easier to figure that out. Plus asking “are you such-and-such” in the friend request seems to cut through the confusion. Marketing yourself here is trickier in that you are among friends, not an expanding audience. If you’re planning a big get together for friends, it’s great; if you want to hype a new product, not so much. However, empirical data shows that the ads posted on Facebooks get more productive cost-per-click ads than on MySpace, and the crowd on Facebook tends to be more affluent.
However there are definite times when being among friends works for you. If you’re looking for work you want to ask people you know—four out of five jobs are found this way. The various groups on Facebook are much more straightforward, easy to join and start posting for things. The community is also great moral support. In these tough times, when I was going through my job malaise, the simple status message of “David is DESPERATELY LOOKING FOR A NEW JOB!” was enough to get my Facebook friends to lend a good ear. One of them told me to send my resume to a recruiting friend of theirs. Different social networks, different purposes, different results.
Whether MySpace is adding the application ability that Facebook has had on for the last year is eventually irrelevant. What’s important is knowing your product and who to speak to. If you know your product, you know the audience you need to reach; knowing that can help you figure out which social network to be on. It’s good to be on both sites but for different reasons on being on either.