You’ve heard the phrase “You snooze you lose” and the “Early bird gets the Worms.” These phrases are true not only in the real world but in the world of social media. Facebook as well as other social media platforms are becoming the dominate way for people to communicate and stay informed.
I was recently at a friend’s wedding reception (we’ll call her Susan to protect the innocent) when one of my former college friends asked if I was on Facebook. I told her I wasn’t really into it, but had thought about opening an account. She basically said all our friends from college were on it and staying connected. I nodded and didn’t really give it another thought. A few weeks later, I sent another college friend an e-mail and told her about the wedding that I had just attended. I thought she would write back surprised, but to my amazement she wrote back that she knew about Susan’s wedding because it was on her Facebook profile. Hmmm, no big deal, some of my friends are really into the internet. Then about a month or two later one my friends mailed me a picture of their new baby daughter. She’s almost a year old! I called my friend to tell them how cute their baby daughter was and guess what I heard. We’ve posted her pictures on Facebook. Do you have a Facebbok account? Okay, I can take a hint.
Facebook is starting to become like a cell phone, only you don’t have to sign a two year contract or be concerned about going over your minutes. You have to imagine the person’s voice but that’s not hard. Think I’m joking. This past Sunday I was with some friends and one of them asked the other “How was your weekend, other than…….” To which my friend responded, “I guess we don’t need to talk since you can check everything on my Facebook profile. Do you get the feeling everyone’s on Facebook. Yeah, so do I.
So how can businesses use Facebook for a profit? Facebook is a great way to interact with your customers. Many companies have created Facebook pages that people can “fan.” Burger King capitalized on a Facebook weakness a few months ago. They offered a free whopper for every 10 friends that you dropped. Facebook can be used to keep customers informed and offer them special discounts or incentives.
Not only can businesses keep customers informed, but it’s a great way to see how people feel about your company and what they are saying. If you start to get negative posts about a certain product or service, you can quickly find a solution and post a note addressing the situation. This makes people feel good about your company. It seems that social media is here to stay, so get on board and start communicating with your fans (customers).
It’s pretty hard to ignore the impact Facebook has on our society; mothers, fathers, children, grandparents and everyone in between seems to have a Facebook profile. But, the question advertisers seem to keep asking is, ‘How can I use Facebook to generate more sales or leads?’
Recently, I have had several hotel clients mention that they were running special deals due to the recent slump in the economy. One option that I suggested was to advertise on Facebook. Although, these clients were skeptical as to how this social media channel could drive sales and bookings, they trusted our expertise. I explained that by using Facebook they can specifically target an audience with interests that closely matched activities either in or nearby the hotel. For example, if the client was located in Aspen, Colorado, such interests worth targeting would be skiing, snow tubing, sledding and even Aspen.
In addition to selecting interests that match your company’s profile, you can also select age ranges as well as the gender you wish to target. Best of all, advertisers can choose exact cities in the surrounding area; this leaves a huge opportunity to offer specials to local residents.
By having so many options to target your audience, Facebook makes it easy to find customers who are interested in the products and services you offer. Many of the clients I have moved into Facebook are experiencing superb results.
When starting your Facebook advertising, remember to set your budget small and see the results you receive before allocating more funds toward your advertising efforts. Be sure that your message is clear and concise with a strong call to action. Another extremely helpful hint is to include an image with your advertising copy.
Remember, Facebook is not just for ‘tweens,’ teens and college students; there are a huge spectrum of ages and interests waiting for you to target.
I recently took a trip to see friends and family, and while I was there my sister told me to “friend” my aunt on Facebook. Although I know Facebook’s popularity has been growing not only among the college-aged users, the fact that my aunt was now an active user made me sit back and think about the growth of Facebook among all adults, especially within the last year.
As Facebook continues to mature, so do its demographics. Presently, according to Inside Facebook, nearly 45% of Facebook users are over the age of 26, and almost a quarter of users are over the age of 35. Surprisingly enough, the age group that is growing the fastest is women, age 55+. From September 2008 to February 2009, this age group grew approximately 175%! (Males within the same age group only grew 135%). Another group that has experienced tremendous growth is users age 45+ (around 165% during the same time frame).
When my own relatives tell me that I need to be on Facebook (little do they know, I have been for years), and when I come across these numbers, I can’t help but think about the opportunities from a marketer’s perspective. It is no longer a place to reach only the college-age consumers.
While I understand that social media marketing can be somewhat daunting if you haven’t approached a social network from this angle before, don’t let that cause you to shy away from the potential that exists for your company or organization. Facebook users sign up to re-connect with old friends and meet others who have common interests, share similar activities, beliefs, views, etc. Use the information that is provided to target your ads or your marketing message and communicate with those who could become potential customers. One of the best things about Facebook is that it can fit into any budget, creating very little barriers in order to participate. So don’t let a little hesitation prevent you or your company from delving into Facebook as a marketing channel. You could be passing up a wonderful opportunity to reach a whole new audience from a different perspective.