This is the first in a series of posts from Facebook expert Tommy Walker. Tommy not only understands the intricacies of using Facebook for business, but he also can explain things so that other people can make use of Facebook and succeed. Visit with Tommy on Twitter at @tommyismyname.
In short, yes.
But don’t be fooled by the droves of Facebook Marketers out there that will try to sell you on what I call the “Facebook Fantasy”
You know, get a page up on Facebook, post interesting updates, ask interesting questions, and become a viral sensation.
Let’s look at Facebook from a very practical standpoint, in this article we’ll go through the most common objections for marketing a business over Facebook and examine numbers that are digestible, demographics that are relate-able, and from there you can make an educated decision as to whether or not Facebook will be valuable tool for your business.
My target market isn’t on Facebook
This is a common objection people have when contemplating Facebook. So let’s look at the numbers
500 million active users
50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
71% of United States Internet users are on Facebook (cite: AllFacebook)
239,893,600 United States Internet users (cite: Internet World Stats.com) = Roughly 170,324,456 United States Facebook users
U.S Population appox. 311,874,138 (cite: Census.gov) meaning roughly 54.6% of the United States population is on Facebook
Only kids are using Facebook
In 2009, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook in the U.S was Women aged 35-65
The trend continues for 2010, in fact if you notice in the chart below there are more 35-54 aged users than any other demographic. Furthermore the Fastest growing demographic in 2010 was the 55+ crowd. The Millennials are right behind them however, so what does this mean really? The two demographics with the most buying power in the United States, the Millennials and the Baby Boomers are well represented on Facebook.
What’s even more interesting is that nearly 30% of U.S Facebook users have identified themselves as either “In College” or as a College Graduate, meaning that U.S Facebook users lean strongly towards higher education.
Facebook doesn’t have the tools I need
Facebook has well over 60,000 apps available, allowing you to do a number of things like share files, open a chat room for fans, run polls, publish music or other audio files, share books and broadcast live events. I’ve recently created a list of 33 of the most useful apps to transform your Facebook Page
Facebook also has an advertising platform that lets you target people based on what they enter into their profile (and the pages that they “like”). This gives you the ability to target a very specific type of personality, the type of personality that you’re going to be most likely to resonate with (and at a price that you set).
For example, let’s say I were an independent comic book artist and my story had dark notes like Batman, I would use Batman, and other “gothic” type references (The Crow, Dark City, Alex Proyas, Sin City, Darkman, Jhonan Vasquez etc…) as a starting point to build my ideal target audience. Because they’re already predisposed to like my style of content, chances are likely that if they’re the only people I’m targeting with my ad, there are bound to be more than a few early adopters who will be willing to spread the word.
I tried it before, and it didn’t work
But what were you doing the last time you tried using Facebook for your business? Remember, people use Facebook mostly to keep up with friends and family and things that they care about.
Normally when I ask people what they did the last time they tried using Facebook, the answer is pretty close to the same- Posted links, asked questions, and got no response.
But when asked about the stuff they comment on they usually say Funny Photos, awesome events in my friend’s life, or articles that are relevant to me.
And that’s the key, is that in order to make Facebook, and all online marketing endeavors for that matter, it has to be engaging to your target audience. Fortunately Facebook has all of the tools you need to be engaging to the right people.
For some, it very well could have been the information they were publishing was engaging, they just didn’t have the right people. See when you create a Facebook Page you’re at first limited to only people on your own personal friends list to invite to populate your page. Without running ads, or having some other expansion strategy in place, your updates will go out to friends and family who, let’s face it, aren’t always as engaged in what you’re talking about as you are.
My guess is if you tried it, and it didn’t work, you simply weren’t talking to the right people.
So is Facebook really valuable for your business?
Really that’s up to you to decide. Certainly the “right people” are there with over half of the United States population having membership.
All the tools you could possibly imagine are there to help you engage with the exact people who could benefit from your perspective.
But in the end, it all depends on you.
Are you willing to take a second look at Facebook and see how it can fit into your overall strategy?