“A place for friends.” Simple yet powerful, this motto describes the appeal of MySpace. It’s a place for you to be a friend and find friends. It’s a place for you to build relationships with likeminded people. It’s also a place to market your website for free.
Before you can take advantage of the massive traffic potential, though, you need to understand how the system works for you as a regular user. Because that’s who your customers are: regular people in search of friends.
Taking off your marketer’s hat for a moment, let’s assume you are interested in fitness and want to meet others who share that interest.
So you go to MySpace, sign up and create a profile. As part of the profile, you describe your family, your background, your hobbies and your goals. You add pictures of yourself, start a blog and upload videos, all for free within the MySpace community.
This space isn’t just about you, though. You also have a friends section and a comments section as part of your “space.”
To grow your personal network, you have to invite people to become your friends. When someone agrees to befriend you, his picture is automatically posted in your friend section.
You or anyone who visits your site can click on that picture and go directly to your friend’s “space.” Then you can click on the pictures of your friend’s friends. And so on.
You don’t have to know people personally to invite them to be your friends. They don’t have to know you. You simply have to find some common ground to establish the basis of your online relationship.
Fortunately, finding common ground is easy to do.
Since in this example you are interested in fitness, you would go to the groups area of MySpace and type “fitness” into the search box. Any people in the groups that are displayed in the search results are good candidates for friendship.
You click a group and start inviting members of the group to be your friends. You can invite as many people as you want to invite, but the friend has to accept the invitation before being added to your friendship network.
Once they become your friends, you can start communicating with them through the MySpace email system or by posting comments on their site. They can also email you or comment on your space.
All comments are posted below the friend section, and anyone who visits your site can read the comments other people post for you. Likewise, people who visit your friends’ sites can read the comments you post for your friends.
You do have the option to approve all comments before they post to your site as a way of monitoring your content. You also have the choice to make your space public or private. Public sites can be viewed by anyone, even if they aren’t in your personal friend network. Private sites can only be viewed by your authorized friends. Most MySpace users, however, choose to make their profile public.
The basic idea is to attract lots and lots of friends. The more friends you have, the more popular and important you feel, and the more people you can communicate with.
Thus when you invite someone to be your friend, you’re building a relationship and helping that person feel popular and important. As long as you understand that, you’re ready to shift into marketing mode and start driving “friend” traffic to your site.
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