Leverage Facebook

There are 400 million active users worldwide on Facebook today, with more than 100 million in the United States (Facebook statistics). Also according to recently released data, the 13- to 17-year-old demographic on Facebook grew 88% from January 2009 to January 2010, pushing the teen population on Facebook in the U.S. alone to almost 11 million.

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.

Tags: facebook, teens
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3 comments about "Leverage Facebook ".
  1. Rachel Geller from The Geppetto Group , March 26, 2010 at 9:34 a.m.

    Data indicate that in fact the teen demographic is more attached to My Space than Facebook because of the higher degree of self expression via personalization and creativity, whereas Facebook is more about connection, which is important to teens, no doubt, but not the only benefit. Thoughts out there?

  2. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing , March 26, 2010 at 4:48 p.m.

    400mil people are not active on Facebook. I feel like your being paid by them when reading this post. Remember if Facebook doesn't IPO at $14bil the VC's and people like Zuckerberg lose billions of on paper equity and millions in investment. Facebook doesn't have independent stats posted on their website. I know many people who are on the site 1-3 times per week at most. And everytime I log in I have over 300+ live feed updates so 95% of those updates I never see. The only way a Brand can be successful is if they condition teens in this case to actively go to their fan page everyday looking for free giveaways. If they don't give away stuff good luck getting any activity.

    BTW Facebook is not the number one mobile social network. MocoNet is.

  3. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing , March 26, 2010 at 4:49 p.m.

    I need to correct

    MocoSpace is the number one mobile social network