Facebook… Are You There Yet?

By Amanda Bala

With the ever increasing popularity of social media sites that exist today, it can be difficult to choose which sites you want to partake in.  One of the largest and most commonly used sites is Facebook.  You would pretty much have to be living on another planet to not have heard about this social media giant. Facebook is one of the fastest growing social media sites in existence.  It has over 500 million active users and of these users 50% log on at least once a day.  The average user has 130 friends.  People spend over 700 billion minutes on Facebook a month!  This is not just in the United States alone.  Actually, 70% of Facebook activity is from other countries and there are over 70 different translations available.  What does all this mean for you?

When discussing Facebook, most people would agree that it is a site to connect with friends, both old and new, plus reach out to relatives and colleagues.  However, Facebook offers a lot more than just socialization.  Facebook is changing the way consumers purchase their products.  Think about it, 5 years ago people looked at circulars, went into stores, saw ads on TV or heard them on the radio and often searched the internet to find products.  Now, television and radio commercials are becoming a thing of the past.  Nearly 50% of DVR users fast forward through the commercials of recorded programs.  Also, with the increase in satellite radio, commercials are being lost from that media as well.  When is the last time you actually read through a circular?

Where is the marketing shift going?  Into social media sites!  An expectant mother wants to find the best stroller for her child.  She can search through ads in the paper, even check online for consumer reports.  However, when it comes right down to it, who will she trust?  The people she knows.  With a simple post on Facebook, she can ask hundreds of her friends and family what strollers they liked and why.  She can find out pros and cons of different models that might not be apparent in ads.  She can get opinions from the people she knows and whose knowledge she values. 

Companies and businesses have to be in tune with this marketing shift.  It is not a fleeting fad.  It took radio 38 years to reach 50 millions users, with television it was 13 years, the internet was 4 years.  Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months.  If Facebook was its own country, it would rank as the 4th largest after China, India and the US.  Think of all the potential sales that exist in that market.  The untapped resources that are available with the simple click on a button.  Now is the time… Are you there yet?

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