Using MySpace for business: an introduction
great for creating a presence if yours is a creative business, or
for reaching out to and/or researching a fairly young target
market. Read on to find out why and how.
What is MySpace?
It's social networking aimed at young(ish) people, combined with
various other platforms and sub-sections - in this case video,
comedy, celebrity, music, charity ('Find a cause'), urban, schools
(universities). It also offers apps, blogging, forums and
friend-findings functions, as well as games, instant messaging and
mobile content. Users create profile pages and design their own
pages - from background, colours and fonts to soundtrack (you can
embed a music-player on your page). They connect with each other
and keep up-to-date with whichever sections of the site interest
Who uses MySpace?
- Users: approx 125 million per month,
- Age and industry: majority are late teens and
early twenties. As such, most users' careers' have yet to be
defined, but music and fashion have by far the greatest
Why would I want that?
- Targeting people in their late teens and early twenties.
- Positioning a brand or product as 'cool' (if you can do it
- Viral spread of video or cult-status of a product among young
- Researching youth trends.
- Well suited to music and fashion businesses.
- Opening up dialogue with young people.
What's the catch?
- Older age groups are on MySpace, but typically you risk denting
your professionalism if you try communicating with them on there as
a business unless you're in the music or fashion industry.
Going to get on MySpace? Here are some words of wisdom:
- There is no real scope for a business to create a page
for itself (although music bands and labels can), although
if you are a (relatively trendy) design agency or fashion label
there is more leeway and you could get away with it.
- What that really leaves you with is the option for
researching a young target market, and our advice on
Bebo all applies in much the same way. However, MySpace does
provide different features which can be used to some advantage. Its
rampantly popular Music section provides a key insight
into trends (look at the clothes, attitudes and
cultures of music your target audience's tastes, beyond just the
sounds artists are making).
- Find a Cause can work as a useful starting point for any
social-enterprise linked campaigns you're thinking of
initiating, and Celebrity and Comedy may offer up personalities or
trends in communication for larger-scale campaigns. Although if
you're getting into the realms of celebrity endorsement, you almost
certainly need to get an ad agency on board.
- Usefully, MySpace offers the opportunity to create
adverts in a fairly similar fashion to Facebook - called
MyAds. Although it's still in Beta, the level of targeting MyAds
offers makes it well worth a look. You can advertise to users not
only according to their age, location and gender, but also
targeting their music interests, hobbies, sports they do, and so on
- a fairly astonishing level of sophistication.
- You pay for ads using pay per click, but can set a
daily budget - actually a very fair way of doing business. If the
MySpace audience is your target and you know your target customers'
profile well enough to capitalise on this level of targeting, it's
definitely worth trying this service out. Monitor it closely though
to see what results your spend is producing. You can read more
about advertising on MySpace in this Business Week
- If you're the same age as the market you aim to
target on there, you should create yourself a page. Again as with
Bebo, identify a group of people who epitomise your target
customer, and draw from the type of design they tend towards to
design your own page.
- As image and expression are so key here, it's worth
researching your target customer perhaps more fully than a business
would were it publicising itself elsewhere - you need to
make sure the soundtrack, the language you use, the interests you
hold and the bands you like are in tune with your target audience
if you truly want to integrate yourself with them to open up
conversations with them. This may sound contrived, and perhaps it
is - but you need to discern how much you want to appeal to your
target customers as an individual in order to get them buying from
The norm on MySpace is to leave your profile fully open, and if
you're trying to attract attention, this is definitely the way you
want to go.
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