I’m already tired of hearing about social network fatigue. The problem is not the ever increasing number of social networks though. As long as the ROI is right users will continue to join new ones as well as keep using the existing ones.
The cost of being part of a social network consists of:
- Fixed cost: Signing up for an account + creating inital profile
- Recurring cost: Connecting to friends + updating the profile
The value provided by the social network varies from network to network:
- Keeping in touch with friends – Facebook
- Job offers, Sales leads, Professional Networking – LinkedIn
- Recognition, status, new friends – Yelp
These are the key drivers for joining a social network together with peer pressure and the fear of missing out. But the ROI is the determining factor for long term adoption.
What stands out is that the return isn’t always immediate. In LinkedIn’s case the return isn’t even certain. It’s more an expectation (or hope) to benefit later – potentially months or years later. In my case I haven’t gotten a job out of LinkedIn and I’m still actively using it. For Facebook, the ROI (friends vitality) is more immediate. Once you connect you can immediately see their latest updates, pictures etc.
Before you launch another social network determine its ROI. This includes determining the cost to a user of being part of the network as well as defining what the generated value is.