It’s a very connected, networked world we live in. Enabled by social media, we are better able to share, communicate and keep in touch. And boy, do we! Social networking is now the most popular Internet activity—accounting for nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online. It’s also one of the most engaging. Companies have long figured out how to leverage social media to build and reinforce brands. And many of our clients are successfully connecting with candidates using social media to advance and communicate their employer value proposition. With more than half of the world’s Internet population visiting Facebook, covering 70 languages, it tends to lead the way. It is, in fact, the top social media site around the world, with the exception of a few countries—China, South Korea, Vietnam, Poland and Russia.
But there is life outside of Facebook. Consider this: Addthis, a platform that helps integrate sharing tools into web sites and drive social traffic, allows a website visitor to share information to over 300 sources—mostly social networks or RSS readers. And judging by the amount of sharing that’s done, the Addthis sharing tool is seen by 1.2 billion users a month. These subsequent sites have a lot of merit. Twitter, the runner-up in a vast majority of global markets, boasts 250 million visitors. In Japan, Twitter holds the top spot, but just barely, due to the large number of local, mobile social networks in the market. And the meteoritic rise of Pinterest demonstrates how quickly new social media can captivate an audience. MySpace, which many proclaim to be “dead,” still carries a big load—30 million users in 15 languages. Justin Timberlake is a major investor, so don’t count them out just yet! Google+, only launched last year, is still trying to find its place in this social media world, leveraging the vast power of the Google platform.
Globally, Orkut enjoys a strong standing, with 66 million users in 48 languages, and is often cited as a major player. Badoo, a site not mentioned often in the United States, enjoys 125 million members, mainly in Italy, Spain, France and South America. Xing, another strong global contender, has over 11 million members, is very popular in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, and is the leading social networking site in Vietnam. China alone has an immense and complicated social networking media landscape of its own, with a large number of local sites segmented by audience, location and other demographics. In Russia, there’s an ongoing battle between the two main local players: V Kontakte and Odnoklassniki. Even Friendster, reinvented as a social gaming site, boasts 8.2 million visitors in 11 languages. Another popular social gaming and networking site is Hi5, which has 25 million monthly visitors in 50 languages. Speaking of niche social networking sites, there are a lot of specialty sites that cater to particular needs, sites like DeviantArt (with 25 million visitors), Flixter, MeetUp and Yelp. The list goes on and on…
With the wide array of global social networking sites available, the difference in how they are used in each market, and the incredible ability to target specific demographics, social media will continue to play an ever-increasing role in the development and management of employer brands. With such an array of choices coupled with the ever-changing landscape social media enjoys, the opportunities are endless. In order to leverage social media successfully, make sure you have a strategic approach from the start and clearly identify your objectives. The key will be to identify the right social media to reach the target demographic and to best represent the brand.