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Businesses want to be your ‘friend’ online

Businesses are quickly catching on to the social network phenomenon, with more and more investing time and money into developing an online social profile.

FacebookA recent report from Experian Hitwise entitled ‘The Rise and Rise of the Social Network’ has placed Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace all in the top 50 websites used by internet users.

Facebook alone is regularly accessed by over 8 million Australians, with Twitter enjoying a worldwide growth of 1100 per cent in 2009.

As a result businesses all across the globe are logging into the social media outlets in a bid to appeal directly to their demographics in a place they are certain to find them.

The Experian Hitwise report also revealed that over twice as many people are likely to click on an ad or page for a business through a social networking site than through a search engine.

Peter Whalley, managing director of Sybiz Software, believes that social networking is the way of the future for the business world, facilitating a direct connection with consumers.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in individuals engaging with us through social media platforms.

“In our opinion this is the way of the future. There is simply no better way of connecting with so many people on a relaxed, friendly and personal level.”

However, with more and more businesses joining in, the question now is how to utilise the new medium.

Mr. Whalley argues that social media success is contingent on constructing an identifiable brand identity and personality that consumers can engage with.

The art of social media is a ‘delicate balancing act’, with respondents looking for some sort of value to be added to their lives – not to be sold to.

“You won’t find us shouting ‘buy, buy, buy’, but you’ll find updates on expos, fundraising events, quirky websites we’ve found and announcements to keep our customers in the loop.”