The growth of Facebook over the past year has been remarkable. iStrategyLabs’ recent report on growth over the past six months, between January and July, is even more amazing for the trends that have been revealed. Take a look at the table below, featuring the iStrategylabs data.
What this means for many BtoB companies is that they need to think about Facebook as a marketing and communications medium. And while many consumer businesses have embraced Facebook, I have unscientifically polled peers regularly over the past few months to get their impression of Facebook as a platform for marketing. My finger-in-the-air test of which way the wind is blowing on this matter has shown me that many in the BtoB world are reluctant to consider Facebook as a legitimate platform for communicating with prospects or customers. The main exception has been the human resources department.
Since Facebook was born in 2004, HR managers have enjoyed being able to get a true look at hungry job candidates, to see what they are really like when they leave the office. Incriminating photos, videos and comments posted in Facebook have prevented many “promising” candidates from landing the jobs they wanted.
Yet many business owners I talk with have quickly called it a giant waste of time and tell me that LinkedIn is the only social media platform they will consider using for business. But with nearly six million new Facebook users since January that are 55 and over, and more than 20 million new users since January that are between ages 35-54, Facebook can only be ignored at your own peril.
As I mentioned in the Entrepreneur.com series about PWMG that followed us as we rebranded the company, I have had meaningful discussions with prospects through the Facebook ‘Chat’ function. In addition, we have a fan page for our company on Facebook, and we see a lot of traffic coming to our blog and website from employees’ various Facebook pages.
Obviously this means I can’t take part in all the fun-and-games that many enjoy on Facebook (endless boring polls, poke poke, virtual food fights, mafia wars, etc.). Too bad for me. But not really.
The 35 and up crowd may have been late to the Facebook party, but these older users are also changing the way this social media platform is and will be used going forward. How has your social media strategy changed in 2009? Drop us a line and let us know. We would be glad to share some ideas.