Saturday, July 11, 2009

That's A Lot Of People

Did you know that over 175 million people use Facebook? Facebook has 600,000 new users signing up each month. If Facebook was a country, it would rank sixth in population.

That's a lot of people. Are you a part of this online community? Today during day one of Short Course, Pamela Gilchrist, president of Strategy-Link/PR-Link, went over the important basics of social networking via new social media. She also offered up some interesting facts:

Americans Online

  • For those betweens the ages of 18-24, 75 percent are active in social networks
  • Those 25-34, 57 percent are active
  • And those 35-44, 30 percent are active
  • For boomers, this is the fastest growing group taking part in social networking.

Believe it or not, some of these users are also your customers. Currently, if you didn't know this already, Facebook and Twitter are the two most popular forms of social media...and they're both free. Just think if 5 percent of your customer base used Facebook and or Twitter. That's no small number. Instead of or in addition to buying ad space in a newspaper or buying time on the radio, you can market to that 5 percent directly...for free!

Sure, I'm a fan of Facebook and maybe a little skeptical of Twitter, but I can't deny the fact that both social networking tools are excellent ways to get your name out there, and great ways to drive traffic back to your company's website without having to reach into your pockets.

And there was one more cool thing I learned today from Pamela - organic search. By using outlets like Facebook or Twitter, your visibility is increased online. This means is bringing you up more often in searches and you don't have to pay for it.


Brett Johnson said...

I think Facebook has its place in marketing - yet no one has really been able to wrap their arms around it. But it is a machine that needs feeding all the time. Working with local garden centers in Central Ohio, when they need the exposure the most is when they are the most busy - Spring! I'm a bit biased due to the fact I sell advertising time on a network gardening program, but I don't see pulling advertising, especially from gardening radio programs, effective in placing your garden center in the midst of your target audience, who are tuning in to learn and enjoy their passion along with other gardeners.

Richard Jones said...

I agree with you Brett. I don't think we're anywhere near a point where Facebook or any other social media can effectively replace advertising for garden centers looking to reach potential customers.

I think the real benefits (and I believe this even more strongly after walking around Short Course and running into Facebook friends and Twitter followers for four days) will be in building one-on-one relationships between you and your customers. Success for independents these days is all about creating a connection so a consumer doesn't want to go anywhere else. It almost doesn't feel like marketing, but it really is.

Pull them in with an ad. Keep them there with the relationship.