Social networks gain value by enabling users to receive updates from contacts without physically interacting with them directly.  This allows users to keep up to date with a large network of family, friends, and businesses.  As marketers, we would like to be able to determine the value of social networking sites – both new and upcoming.  This will give marketers insights as to how to allocate social media spending and increase consumer engagement with their brands.

The problem arises from the theory that the value of a social network is derived from two seemingly opposite attributes:

  • Low redundancy of information – users will not see similar or repeated posts throughout the feed.  This allows for a greater variety of updates and will increase the value of the social network.
  • More strong personal ties – categorized as family > friends > businesses, will increase the value of the social network by providing more information about the user’s interests.

Yotam Shmargad presents his results from the Joint Statistical Meetings in San Diego this year about how these two attributes actually contribute to the valuation of a particular social network. 

Shmargad determined that the users who most valued the social networking site were those that had high redundancy within their most strong ties.  In other words, users want similar or repeated information only from their friends and family.  Therefore, in order to fully measure the value of a social network site, one must take into consideration not just redundancy and strong personal ties, but the interaction between the two.  The social networks more highly valued by consumers are those that minimize redundancy within business networks and maximize redundancy within family networks.  As marketers, this means that in order to more fully engage consumers on social networking sites we should aim to provide new and refreshing content at all times.

Don’t have the time or bandwidth to devote to your social media efforts? Find out more about Booyah Advertising’s social media marketing services.

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