What You Need to Know About Online Social Networking

By now you have heard of sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Myspace. These sites are being used by millions of people everyday and have quickly changed the way the world communicates and shares information.

What are Social Networking Websites?

Social Networking websites are online communities where people can share interests/activities, and communicate quickly and easily. People build up connections on these sites to keep up with friends and family, network with colleagues, and also to monitor their favorite brands. Organizations use these sites to build stronger relationships with their existing clients, foster new ones, and ultimately promote their brands.

Will This Audience Be Receptive to My Medical Practice?

Today, 110 million Americans, or 60% of the online population, actively use social networks, according to a recent survey by Anderson Analytics. This is clearly a huge audience, but what’s even more exciting is how receptive they are to interaction with brands on these sites. The survey further revealed that 52% of social networkers had ‘friended’ or became a ‘fan’ of at least one brand. Twitter, in particular, gives you the ability to harness their unique power to find people interested in your services, who are also located in close proximity to your practice. Not only does this allow you to reach out to a targeted audience, their audience is even more receptive to brand interaction because many of them are ‘promoting’ something themselves. One last tidbit, 93% of social media users believe a company should have a presence in social media (Cone, Business in Social Media Study).

The Four Most Widely Used Social Networking Websites

Facebook – Not only is it the most visited social networking site, Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other top site on the web!

  • Features: Users have the ability to share photos, videos, links, articles, and short status updates
  • Monthly Users: 122 million
  • User Profile: Predominantly 18-54 with highest growth in the 35-55+ group

Twitter – Fastest growing site with an amazing 1,448% year over year growth in monthly unique visitors!

  • Features: Revolves around 140 character ‘micro-blogs’ called Tweets. Everything Tweeted is public and highly searchable, which makes it easy to connect with people who share interests and/or are potential clients.
  • Monthly Users: 23 Million
  • User Profile: Users are more likely to be entrepreneurial

LinkedIn – This site is all about business with over 43 million members.

  • Features: Users have the ability to create a ‘living’ CV, network with other professionals, send out status updates, join industry groups, and respond to questions to build up their authority in their field. Used primarily for business, networking, job searching, and recruiting.
  • Monthly Users: 12.5 Million
  • User Profile: Professionals with the highest average income per user of any social networking site.

MySpace – The only site on the list with declining growth; it still has a very large user base, but is quickly fading.

  • Features: Users have the ability to share photos, videos, links, articles, short status updates, and send out bulletins
  • Monthly Users: 61 Million
  • User Profile: Young audience, low income bracket

Social Networking Is Here to Stay

It’s important to realize that Social Networking is here to stay. These sites have been around for over five years and their reach continues to grow at considerable rates month after month. To hit this point closer to home, more and more of your existing and potential patients are using these sites. It’s time for you to meet them in these online communities and take your relationship to another level.

Let Us Help Get Your Practice Started!

MyAdvice is now offering a service where we will set up profiles for you on the top social networking websites. This saves you the setup time so you can quickly join the conversation and start building your networks. Get started with social networking today!

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