August 4, 2011, 11:59 AM

Making friends online

Second 500 retailers are building relationships through social media.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

In the vernacular of Facebook, retailers in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide like to be Liked by consumers. The majority of Second 500 retailers have a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook is the social medium most often tapped by Second 500 retailers, with 353, or 71%, having a presence on the network.

Second 500 retailers also use Twitter almost as much as Facebook, with 349, or 70%, communicating with shoppers through the 140-character tweets. Twitter use also is distributed pretty evenly across all sales ranges among the Second 500, indicating that web retailers using the medium share a view of its potential to bond with consumers.

Social networking site MySpace is used by 116, or 23%, of Second 500 retailers. That runs close to the participation rate of retailers in Internet Retailer’s 2011 Top 500 Guide. 27% of Top 500 retailers use MySpace, and that percentage has declined or remained flat since 2008 as Facebook has emerged as the dominant social network.

YouTube also is used somewhat evenly employed across all sales ranges in the Second 500 retailers. But their use of the video network—by 75, or 15%—falls far short of that of larger Top 500 merchants, 316 (63%) of whom use YouTube to post commercials, product demos or other types of videos on the Google-owned video site.

The Internet Retailer Top 500 ranks the 500 leading North American retailers by online sales; the Second 500 ranks online retailers from 501 to 1,000.

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