Edinburgh Web Development

The Facebook Lost Generation

by Iain Wilson

14 September 2011

Facebook and social media in general seems to be everywhere these days. It's permeated just about everywhere. But for some people social media is just something reported in the press, something young people do, something other people do, and something they would never use - they are the Facebook Lost Generation.

Facebook is the most successful social media platform right now, and probably will be for the foreseeable future. Millions, billions of members and used morning till night by them to interact with friends and associates.

Naturally, businesses see the potential for using it as a marketing tool and many have exploited it successfully, such as Coke, Starbucks, Porsche etc, all of whom have literally millions of fans.

It's marketing with a big difference too. Instead of marketing messages being a one-way 'push' as in traditional forms of marketing, it's a two-way thing where fans of the company's Facebook page have the opportunity to interact, comment and share the marketing materials and messages.

Sounds sexy, attractive, hard to resist, right? Why wouldn't you want to use something like this? How can anyone fail?

And that is the message from many Internet marketing specialists. How can anyone fail? Over the last 12 months, I've lost count of the number of seminars and courses I've seen advertised or been invited to where online marketing experts extol the benefits and ease of using Facebook and social media to increase business.

Without a doubt, it's pretty easy to get started, but making a success of it is harder and the one thing these experts and courses overlook is that A LOT OF PEOPLE don't use Facebook, and probably never will. Even more important is that this group of people is often a prime target market of the business!

So what happens is that the business Facebook page gets created and sits there, idle, without any fans or interest, rather like a website that does not feature on the search engines. I've seen loads of companies do exactly this.

So how do you identify if your business would benefit from Facebook or if your target market predominately will not use Facebook?

It comes down to demographics. Does a decent amount of the type of people you are aiming at use Facebook or not? The demographic you are aiming at depends on your business - it could be anything - age (see next paragraph), education, geography, you name it.

Maybe an easy way is to look at the age of your typical clients/customers. I'd say that most people over 50 are part of the Facebook Lost Generation - they don't use it much or not at all. I know this is a sweeping statement (no doubt ageist, too!), and there are exceptions, but in my experience it is generally true. I'd also say most young business people would be Facebook users to at least some extent.

So analyse your customers and potential customers. If they are mostly members of the Facebook Lost Generation, you might want to re-think your Facebook plans a little.

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