Facebook and Twitter for Adults

Posted by David Chism | Mon, Sep 13, 2010

 Facebook and Twitter for Adults
Face­book: What´s the Big Deal? Six years ago, Har­vard sopho­more Mark Zucker­berg began Face­book — a web­site for Ivy League stu­dents to con­nect and inter­act online. Grad­u­al­ly, the site opened up to new groups of users until any­one over the age of 13 can have a pro­file. Now, the 1,400 employ­ee com­pa­ny boasts 500 mil­lion active users, and sud­den­ly face­book­ing” and friend­ing” are verbs! But the land­scape is chang­ing at the world´s largest social net­work­ing site: though youths are using face­book from their phones dur­ing class­es, church ser­vices, and while dri­ving, there are now more Face­book users over the age of 35 than under. In the age 65+ cat­e­go­ry, the num­ber of users has dou­bled in the last 12 months. Face­book is grow­ing up! So what does this mean for the future of Face­book, and for busi­ness­es? Two things are very likely: 
  1. Face­book will begin tar­get­ing their site more towards busi­ness­es and adults, because that is where more mon­ey is found. They have already start­ed down this road by cre­at­ing Face­book Places: when­ev­er a Face­book user enters a loca­tion or busi­ness reg­is­terd as a Face­book Place, the user can instant­ly announce to all his or her friends where they are. Users can find friends while out on the town, and busi­ness­es get a free name-drop! Also, busi­ness fan pages” are mul­ti­ply­ing rapid­ly, and new appli­ca­tions are being devel­oped that make com­pa­ny web­sites almost unnec­es­sary. Imag­ine your busi­ness fan page with the tabs of your choice: Cus­tomer Reviews, Port­fo­lios, Signup Forms, Sur­veys, and much more, all for free! As com­pa­nies sign up, Face­book will increase its ser­vices that cater to busi­ness­es and consumers.
  2. For busi­ness and social rea­sons, adults are learn­ing the lan­guage and map­ping out the ter­rain of Face­book. As this trend grows, young users will begin look­ing for a new place where par­ents can´t mon­i­tor them so close­ly. I think it like­ly that the younger gen­er­a­tion will begin to drift away from Face­book and back towards tex­ting and instant mes­sag­ing until a new com­pa­ny comes along with a social site just for teens or col­lege students.
Who Gives a Tweet? I com­mon­ly hear the com­plaints, Argh! I hate Twit­ter! It is so annoy­ing.” and I just don´t get Twit­ter!” Yes, Twit­ter can be aggra­vat­ing, but the site has gained 100 mil­lion users in four years, and it´s not like­ly to dis­ap­pear. In fact, if you aren´t con­nect­ing with clients through Twit­ter, a com­peti­tor prob­a­bly is. Twit­ter is a site that lets users become authors,” post­ing short mes­sages that are auto­mat­i­cal­ly dis­played to all of their fol­low­ers.” Casu­al users use it to find out what their friends are think­ing and doing, as well as to post their own thoughts and doings. More strate­gic users, such as politi­cians, non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions, and busi­ness­es, use Twit­ter to grow a list of fol­low­ers who enjoy read­ing their short updates. Let´s look at a Hol­ly­wood exam­ple: The actor Ash­ton Kutch­er cur­rent­ly has 5.7 mil­lion fol­low­ers on Twit­ter, and a sim­i­lar amount on Face­book. These fans read his updates to feel con­nect­ed, and to know the inside sto­ry.” Now imag­ine Kutch­er is in a new movie, and it´s not one he´s real­ly proud of — it´s a bit of a flop. If he men­tions the movie on Twit­ter, even if only half of the peo­ple who read the post go to the movie, at $10 per tick­et, it would make at least $28 mil­lion! On top of that, his Face­book users are an eager audi­ence to his sub­tle adver­tise­ment, and any of these fol­low­ers and fans might also end up bring­ing a date along! Clear­ly, the busi­ness poten­tial is there. It´s easy to look at those num­bers and be dis­cour­aged, but you don´t need to be rich, famous, and hand­some to make Twit­ter prof­itable. Research shows that 64% of Twit­ter users are over age 35, and the medi­an user age is 39. With so many users out there, many of them would be inter­est­ed in your busi­ness. Even if you just have five fol­low­ers, that´s OK — just make those five fol­low­ers love you! They´ll tell five of their friends about you, and you´ll be up to 25, and so it goes. Share expert tips, inter­est­ing arti­cles, news updates, trends in your field, and any­thing new hap­pen­ing in your busi­ness. Many fol­low­ers look at Twit­ter the same way peo­ple scan the High­light sec­tion on the front page of the Wall Street Jour­nal. It gives a quick overview of the main con­tent in the paper, and if some­thing catch­es your eye, you open to it. An inter­est­ing Twit­ter post will draw vis­its to your site in the same way. What now? You don´t have to love Face­book, Twit­ter, Linkedin, or whatever´s next, but you do have to know that these social net­work­ing sites are grow­ing, and many of your cus­tomers are on them. Put away your shield and dag­ger, and ask your clients what they do online. Many clients are embar­rassed to admit just how much time they spend on those sites — espe­cial­ly on Face­book. Some of your cus­tomers use Face­book reli­gious­ly (some even in church!), while oth­ers hate it. Oth­ers are using Linkedin and still more vis­it Ama​zon​.com, Wall Street Jour­nal, New York Times, a com­mu­ni­ty forum or even Grand​par​ents​.com to stay con­nect­ed and research pur­chas­es. Once you find out how your clients are using social media sites, you can plan and bud­get the strat­e­gy you need to reach them.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.

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