By Nancy Adzentoivich, Director, Client Strategy & Development
I ask you to think about this question for a moment, if you would. I bet 99% of you answered yes to the first part – of course you’re on Facebook, you’re probably a digital marketer or in some way more aligned with the web than most people (seeing as how you’re reading this blog post). But what about the second part of the question? Is your company, your brand or your client represented in some way on Facebook? If you answered yes, good job! If you answered no, why not?
The latest Kiplinger report states that according to Nielsen data, in June 2010, internet users spent more time on Social Networks than they did using email. This is a 44% increase over one year ago. We are spending nearly one quarter of our internet time interacting with our social networks. Are you surprised? Think about how many times a day you check status updates, check-in on FourSquare, Tweet or comment on a YouTube video. Chances are people like you and me spend even more than 25% of our time on social networks. I know I do (if you discount the time spent working, of course).
So why did I open up with a question about Facebook, specifically? Well, the latest report also shows that of all social networks, Facebook claims 85% of social networking time, and they just hit the 500 million member mark. That’s 200,000,000 more people than live in the United States folks. THAT’S A LOT OF PEOPLE!
Granted, many of us prefer to not be bothered by commercialism when posting status updates about our plans for the weekend, the newest milestone in our relationship or what we ate for lunch. However, most of us “Like” brands, promotions or similar such things without even giving it a second thought. I, for one, am a Fan (or Friend, or Liker) of Audi. I see updates from the car manufacturer once every couple of days. They told me about the new A7, let me click to videos and read reviews (not that I am an Audi owner, just an admirer, but someday….). I also “Like” the TV shows Fringe, Weeds and TrueBlood. Over the past month I have been treated to mini-webisodes, behind the scenes looks at filming, schedule updates, etc.- priceless information for someone like me who has limited time for televised entertainment. I rely on my DVR and my Facebook to keep me up to date on what I need to know.
I know what you’re thinking – this Facebook thing is just a fad. Well, according to the Kiplinger article, Facebook has (from time to time) surpassed Google as the most visited site on the web. Predictions are that this trend will take hold and be sustained for the long term. Remember, 5 hundred million people.
A few years ago I was writing about the importance of being on the Search Engines (Google being numero uno), and often heard the whole “the Internet is a fad” argument. Um, guess what – it wasn’t a fad! So, now I implore you, please hear me when I say “Get ye to Facebook young marketer!” Don’t abandon Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, AOL or Business.com…but follow the people. The people have proven that they have the power. The people will show you the way. Let them “Like” you. Let them evangelize for you. If you have a product or service that promises real value to the individual you too can become successful on Facebook.
A few quick tips for beginners:
1. Honesty is king in social media – do not make false claims. The People can see right through you.
2. Don’t try to sell anything. Nobody is buying – yet.
3. Do engage in relationship building. Talk, listen and participate.
4. Remember, it’s not mass-communication, it’s micro-communication – on a 500,000,000 person scale.