There is no longer doubt that marketers need to embrace Facebook as a key channel and ultimately make it the fulcrum of their marketing communications. With the traditional media, it is difficult to socialize the brand. Facebook has become an epicenter for the "wisdom of friends" that helps facilitate and solidify our purchasing decisions.
Teens flock to Facebook for peer interaction and sense of belonging. So what does this mean to marketers? Get in and get social -- or get left behind.
Getting social is the first step, which most savvy marketers have embraced with robust presences. So what should marketers who want to reach teens through social media be thinking about it in 2010? Simply put, think global, act local, go social.
Facebook reports the average consumer has 130 friends on Facebook and a Vitrue study shows the average consumer has roughly 50% of his/her friends in the same metropolitan area.
What is particularly powerful for marketers who want to reach teens and build brand affinity for life is the percentage of friends who are local. The number of local friends is undoubtedly higher for people who are younger. I would even venture to say 13-to 18-year-olds tend to have a friend base that is 90%+ local. No doubt the percentage of our local peers will decrease over time, as people go off to college and live in different places, but there is no doubt that youth marketing and making "social local" needs to be a strategic course of action for marketers. After all, isn't this demo key for all marketers to reach to build affinity for life?
Couple this with the fact that, according to Nielsen, 78% of consumers buy products from a peer or friend, and you have a strategic bull's-eye for providing users with locally relevant social media to drive and influence purchases.
Today I bet the high school Friday night hang-out is a local restaurant or store such as a Starbucks, McDonald's, Subway or Bruster's. These global brands have a massive presence but need to reach out and engage users where they live. With a local presence, these brands can offer coupons to encourage new product trial, run polls to see what is resonating and provide a local community bulletin board where people can share and collaborate. They can also recruit great talent and showcase their local philanthropic initiatives. By giving teens utility and engagement where they are gravitating, these brands will build bonds for life.
Powerhouse brands need to give control to local markets while maintaining the ability to dynamically manage thousands of locations. Giving a brand a local presence helps humanize and offer utility to its presence.