Today we launch a 10-post series dedicated to debunking the many myths out there surrounding social media for business. Inspired by many objections I’ve heard (and overheard) from real business owners, I developed this series to help you separate the fact from the fiction in this still-uncharted territory. I hope you find it useful and would love to hear your feedback!
Yes, yes, we’ve all heard about the gajillions of 12-year-olds who follow Justin Bieber, the Twilight movies, Glee, and other tween sensations on Facebook and Twitter—and who use these social networks as a virtual fan clubhouse where nonstop chatter is the norm. It’s a trend so overwhelming that it may cause one to wonder if that’s all there is to this social media thing.
Of course, if you happen to be in the business of selling Selena Gomez–branded karaoke microphones, there’s a lot to like about that perception. But the rest of us are much more likely to blow off social media as a playground for a demographic that’s light years away from our target market.
DEBUNKED! Actually, social media’s a lot more grownup than many realize. And that’s not just my opinion; it’s a fact backed by solid data:
- More than 28 million US Facebook users are over the age of 45
- The 55–64 age group on Facebook is almost as large as the 13–17 age group
- The fastest growing age group on Facebook is women 55 and older
- 59% of all Twitter users are over 30
- In 2011, 20.6 million US adult Internet users will use Twitter at least once a month, up 26.3% from 2010
- In December 2010, only 9% of all Twitter users were younger than 17
So if you’ve been holding back from social media just because you’re not marketing to the 13-and-under crowd, it might be time to revisit the question.
The best way to find out if your target audience is active on social media (and if so, on which networks) is just to ask them. Take advantage of your email list, face-to-face encounters, phone calls, and other interactions to ask your clients about their social activities online and to find out which brands they typically follow. Once you’ve gathered your data, you should have a much clearer answer to the question of whether a social media strategy can improve your engagement with present and potential customers.
So, has your business found success engaging the non-tweener crowd in social media? Tell us about it in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!
Facebook Demographics Revisited – 2011 Statistics, Social Media Today
The Demographics of Social Media, AdAge
Twitter Users, A Vocal Minority, eMarketer
U.S. Demographic Profiles at Facebook and Twitter, ComScore