For most teens, Facebook and their lives are intimately connected. Recently I asked a teenager her thoughts on Facebook and the strength of her answer was really telling: "It's sort of like an extension of my life. It's my lifeline." Teens rely on Facebook to communicate with friends, make plans, share news, and generally keep up with everyone.
Most brands by now have a Facebook page. But simply having a page isn't enough. Marketers need to determine their strategy, develop their presence, build their fan base, and deliver communication that will engage and inspire teens to share, comment, etc., to truly develop a relationship with their fans. And it needs to be an ongoing relationship -- not one-off campaigns. Teens are passionate about their likes and dislikes; deliver a Facebook relationship where they'll be passionate about your brand and the results can be remarkable.
Communicating with teens directly where they play -- on Facebook -- is a powerful way to reinforce your brand and drive your business. Deliver applications like polls and coupons directly into a fan's news feed, where experts say fans spend the greatest amount of time and attention while on Facebook. Our own research shows that brands achieve a staggering 110 times greater reach through their wall compared to other elements of their Facebook page, such as a tab.
Marketers need to tap into the power of this connectively and give teens the ability to share about their brand. Imagine the power of a coupon, poll, or quiz being shared over and over, essentially providing a peer recommendation of your brand with each click.
Marketers must also consider the rise of mobile web usage with teens. Web visitors using a mobile device increased 34% year-over-year, from 42 million mobile Web visitors in July 2008 to 57 million in July 2009, with a youth increase of 45%, according to The Nielsen Company. There are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices -- a number that will continue to grow. Another compelling data point is that those who use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
I was recently at a local yogurt shop. It was after school hours and the store was filled with teens from the local middle and high schools. More than half were using mobile devices and accessing Facebook to update their friends on where they were and what they were doing -- instantly.
That local hangout could strategically time their Facebook updates, fill it with offers that are tied to providing teens value to come in with their inner circle of friends. No better way for the brand to be relevant to the teen and their lives than to talk in their terms at the time of day that is most significant to them.
At the Web 2.0 conference last fall, teens from 15 to18 were asked about social media. They unanimously agreed the "coolest thing they do online these days is Facebook."
Much as Microsoft developed the operating system for the PC in the '80's, Facebook is developing the operating system for the Internet. And all marketers need to incorporate Facebook into their everyday marketing plan.