Who’s using Facebook anyway?

I have spent the last week with some very bright minds, leaders in the field of marketing and PR in London, at Marketing Weeks’ Brands Summit conference. Now, I must highlight that this was at a “Brand” level, so discussions were not about on or offline tactics in terms of commerce but in how to create more brand awareness.

Brands can be quite slow joining the online party and over the years they have been known to be way behind in terms of website development and online promotion. But what a change when it comes to Social Media, some of these guys are in with both feet, figuring it out for themselves, letting go of the reigns and staff at all levels are getting involved.

Key for me were Asda, Penguin Books and Baileys.

Your AsdaAsda are headlong into the social space with their Your Asda and AisleSpy blogs, Twitter and multiple YouTube channels. Now this isn’t some corporate controlled puppet show, these are real Asda employees blogging, sending Tweets and posting videos. I did pose a question, asking how they managed to deal with the time consuming task of video editing. To my surprise and pleasure I got told “…they don’t edit the videos they’ll just bring the ‘Flip’ cameras into the office and load the video up from there.”

Penguin BooksPenguin one of the most recognisable publishers in the world are avid Twitter fans. Not just as @penguinbooks, individual employees Twitter as well. With over 41k followers they follow back too, taking part in the conversation, announcing new releases and running a weekly hash tag competition.

Facebook BaileysBaileys have taken Facebook to another level with over 800K fans, dealing in multiple languages. They are using Facebook to bring together avid Baileys drinkers to discuss recipes and flavours ensuring Baileys isn’t just a Christmas tipple. What was impressive is how they are managing their Facebook page from within the localised countries, keeping posts relevant and where necessary in that countries native language.

If these monolithic brands can move fast enough to take advantage of this space and with seemingly little requirement for proof of Return on Investment why are smaller businesses so slow on the take up?

Resource? Maybe, but when you consider that Asdas’ blog is run by its existing staff and Penguins Twitterers are taking 10 mintues out of their day to manage 40k followers.

Cost? Twitter and Facebook have zero cost of entry, YouTube a £100 camcorder (the software is free on your PC) and even a basic blog would cost no more than £50 to set up.

Technical knowledge? If you can use the web and take pictures whilst on holiday, you can do any of these things.

It’s not your target market? You think so? Have you done the research? And I don’t mean ask your business colleagues or regular dinner guests whether they use YouTube or Facebook. Unlike the initial take up of the Internet which was hampered by slow Broadband rollout, much of the Social Media space is used by many different consumer groups. They may not all use Facebook, Twitter or YouTube but you can bet they are touched by it from feedback on blogs, forums and even mainstream news sites.

A lot of the negativity tends to come when your target audience is over 50, as Social Media is seen as either a techy or young persons activity. Yet one of comScores’ surveys states: “Internet Users Age 55 and Older More Likely to Visit Social Networking Sites than Business & Finance, Technology and Travel”.

source: comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) press release London 20th July 2009 link

So, in light of the activity of these big Brands, the low cost of entry along with the facts and figures don’t miss the opportunity of an engaged market due to your own misinformation.

Please feel free to disagree with me in the comments below!

About Sean Clark

Building successful online companies since 1999, we help you market your business online. Whether you need help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Paid Search (PPC) or Social Media Marketing call us today on 01603 343477 for a free initial consultation.

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