Social networking: Loyalty Schmoyalty

Keith Shaw DEMO 2007

Brand loyalty has always been an important driver for companies that want to keep their customers – when you’re successful, the loyal customers are an extremely valuable tool in helping spread the message of the brand (just ask a Diet Coke fan if they’d ever drink Diet Pepsi, or vice versa, for example).

But in the world of social networking and Web 2.0, it turns out users are pretty fickle. According to a report by Parks Associates, nearly 40% of MySpace users keep profiles on other social networking sites, such as Friendster or Facebook. Parks goes on to say that loyalty among smaller networking sites is even lower, with more than half of all users actively maintaining multiple profiles.

This fickleness may not be such a bad thing, at least compared to “real world” brand loyalty like the aforementioned Diet Coke/Diet Pepsi example. An environment where nearly half of all social networkers regularly use more than one site creates opportunities for new social networking sites that are all tied together by links, widgets and the users themselves, Parks says. “A handful of users are all it takes to connect new services to the MySpace-centered environment,” says John Barrett, author of the Parks report “Web 2.0 & the New Net.”

While this fickleness may generate new products, links and services, I’d still be worried about retaining at least some of these users, especially if my revenue model depended on these users to look at advertisements, or to pay for any new and interesting services. I can’t believe that the Web 2.0 world would totally abandon the concept of brand loyalty.

Or am I missing something here? Can an environment exist where social networking users thrive at different, yet interconnected sites? Is there a place for brand loyalty in the Web 2.0 world?

July 10, 2007

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One thought on “Social networking: Loyalty Schmoyalty

  1. Social networking: Loyalty Schmoyalty

    expecting loyalty at a social networking site is like asking someone to have one interest… joe is a member of the AARP so he surely wouldn’t want to join the botanical garden… just silly thinking.

    like all things technological or otherwise there is a value or essence that is more than the sum of the parts, the experience or the brand is certainly shaped and many times defined by the functionality that is provided….

    however, just like the social “real world” behavior and attitudes shift and are as complex as the people that are members…

    which speaks volumes to the potential of Google Stream where the new new social network is the combination and aggregation of all social interests of a person located and designed around the person… iGoogle social network personalization..


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