Facebook marketing requires commitment. Not every company will want to enter into such an open-ended, friend-building exercise. For them, and all companies actually, the question must be asked: Do you need to Facebook, or any social networking? The answer depends entirely on what you are selling, and to whom. (Another example of how new media uses the same principles and processes as traditional media.)
Let’s start with the negative—what isn’t Facebook (from here forward read ‘social networking’ writ large) suited for? Are there any target demographics where Facebook is unlikely to be useful? Sure seems there should be, the most obvious being seniors. Few associate seniors with computer in general, or using something so “young” as Facebook. Usage statistics however show some interesting trends.
As of Feb 1, 2009, in the US the fastest growing Facebook demographic is women over 55 (175% increase in prior 120 days), with men over 55 facebooking increasing 138% in the same time period. Statistics being what they are—the best way to fool someone—you have to look a little deeper. Facebook users over 55 are the fastest growing group, but still only account for 3% of total American users. Only? That’s 1.4 million users, more than doubling every few months.
Say you are in the funeral business. Should you Facebook? One wouldn’t think so, but maybe, especially if your firm services retirement enclaves in Florida or the southwest (or Vancouver Island in Canada). Funeralfuturist.com offers videos on viral marketing using obituary notices, so can something like a Gravesite Group on Facebook be far behind? It would be a chance to get in front of the curve in the dying business.
Makes you think. Maybe Facebook would work well for closely targeted services like retirement communities, somewhere where creating a group atmosphere is a premium. If you were searching for a place to retire and were passionate about hiking and the outdoors, or [insert hobby name here], wouldn’t you be attracted to a community where you knew before hand had groups you would like to join?
Hmm, if Facebook could work for the least-likely demographic then maybe a marketer should pass on conventional wisdom and look a little deeper into this social networking phenomenon. That is what I will do in the next post or two.