We have all heard the hype about Facebook and at some point we have all wondered what it was all about and whether your business should be part of it, whether you are on Facebook personally or not.
The statistics for Facebook are overwhelming; after its inception in 2004, in august 2008 it already had 100 million users worldwide, in July 2010 this had further grown to 500 million, and only a year later there were 750 million users on Facebook. That’s a lot of people and Facebook is still growing even today.
So who are all these people?
Well, it’s actually pretty varied. In 2010-2011, the number of 18-24 years olds grew by a staggering 74%. And yet it is not all them pesky young people; the same period saw the 55+ users grow by 58.9%. So what does that mean? Well, it means that pretty much everyone is on there. In fact, approximately one in nine people on earth has a Facebook account. “But does anybody ever log on?” I hear you ask. Seeing that more people in the USA visit Facebook than Google (yes, really), and the two duke it out for the top spot as most visited site worldwide, we’d have to conclude that that’s a yes.
But I am a business in the UK, why would I care about all these global users?
Fair enough, perhaps the world is not your audience. If the UK is though, consider that (as of April 2011) over 30 million Facebook users live in the UK. Yes, you read that right, that’s about half the total population of the UK. Of these, just over half are female and roughly 2/3 of all these users fall in the 18-44 year old range. So quite a few people and quite a lot of disposable income…
Ok, that sounds interesting, but how would I reach those people?
Just having a Facebook page is not enough. As with any social media, the key is engagement. The more content you put up that people can interact with, the greater success you are likely to have. Facebook being the communication platform that it is, focuses on people sharing news and updates with one another. On average, a Facebook user has 130 friends. As soon as a user posts an update (or “likes” something), those 130 friends receive a notification of this on their wall. If they in turn respond to that, 130 of their friends will see that, so news can travel pretty quickly. But this is all dependent on their being content for people to engage with in the first place, of course.
So what if I don’t have anything to say?
First off, given the numbers involved, the fact that it is free (apart from time) and the potential for a large number of people to be exposed to your brand, should really mean that, for B2C business, a presence on Facebook seems a no-brainer. But even for B2B businesses, a presence could be beneficial. In a lot of instances the social media lines between personal and business are getting blurred (how many “work” contacts are also your friends on Facebook?), but more importantly consider what value a presence could give you. Is there a public facing element to your business? (recruitment, perhaps?) It could serve you well to consider what strategic use a company Facebook page could give you even if you are B2B and don’t have products to sell directly to the public.
We’ll give you some time to mull this over before we continue next time with useful tips on how to create a company Facebook page.