Facebook only took six years to reach an astonishing 400 million registered users. And, just as eager marketers are perfecting their handle on reaching those subscribers and the additional millions who regularly use Twitter and YouTube, a new crop of social media sites are beginning to attract a lot of attention. While these sites haven't attracted Facebook-like numbers yet, some of them seem poised for mass attraction. Innovative services can help a social media site catch on quickly.
Here's a "who's who" to pay attention to:
Ning helps users create their own pages with a unique look by letting them choose from 80+ theme pages to customize. They also have built-in integration with other social media sites, including the "biggies" — Facebook, YouTube and Twitter — which encourages Ning users to maximize their reach. There's a lot of opportunity for social function and interaction on Ning, with capabilities to do live video streaming and easy email marketing called "constant contact." Everyone talks through groups, forums and chats on the site, and activity streams start and keep the conversations fresh. Ning is accessible on any device, so users can create native apps for iPhone and Android use and manage their account on the go.
Loopt is a location-based social service that connects users and their friends by virtually displaying their location and availability with maps. It's accessible on more than 100 mobile phones, so offers the widest distribution of any location-based service. Currently available in a number of cities, Loopt is ready now to expand to more, which should boost the number of users well past the 3 million it currently claims. Loopt users can connect with friends in their region, see movie, restaurant and entertainment reviews and search for interesting events taking place in their area.
Tagged bills itself as the social network for "meeting new people." While other social media sites tout themselves as places to stay connected with friends and family, Tagged helps users form brand new connections through social games and galleries of group interests, so it's all about matchmaking new friendships. They help you design a profile to match your individual taste with a library of several thousand profile skins to get you started. Tagged has 100,000 million+ members and upwards of 25 million monthly visitors.
Already big and continuing to grow are the social and business networking sites like LinkedIn, My Space, Live Journal, Orkut and Cafe Mom. Check out MeetUp and My Life, too. These new social networking sites are in hot pursuit of the kings of social media — Facebook, YouTube and Twitter — and are starting to gain some ground.
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