Sunday, February 17, 2008

2008 – The Year You Get Social

Do you think you really know your customers? Then this may surprise you. If your customers are between 26 and 60 years old, more and more of them are using social networks every month.

“Social networks? You mean on the Web? Like Facebook and MySpace?”

That’s right. Facebook is seeing a major growth surge among Baby Boomers and Gen-X’ers. Now that Facebook is open for all, membership is growing by millions.

An August 2007 survey of Boston College alumni revealed 2,500 Facebook members. In a mere six months that population swelled by more than 500% to nearly 13,000. And some of the most rapid growth is among alumni in their 40’s and 50’s.

What does this mean for you, a local business owner? It means that:

  • Your customers are rapidly accepting Web based social networks as a means for staying in touch with friends and relatives.
  • If BC alumni are any indication, more than half of college graduates nationally may be on Facebook by late 2008.

Just as your business adapted to using technologies like fax, email and the Web to increase sales and improve customer service, you’ll be able to grow your business by participating in social networks.

“How do I do this?” Well, for starters you can easily join one of the more popular sites:

  1. Get on Facebook. It is free and easy.
  2. Advertise your business there. This is also free, although there are for-pay advertising options as well.
  3. Connect with them. Your best customers can elect to be your “fans”. “How does this help my business?” you ask. It serves as word-of-mouth fuel as their friends can read what they say about the great service you provide and view your business through their profiles.

Is this going to revolutionize your business overnight? Probably not, but it’s a free and simple way to connect with your customers where they’re talking with their friends and neighbors. It’s a smart thing to do. And it’s just a matter of time before you do it, so jump in.