Question: Facebook is now going public. I have a website for my business, but now it seems that everyone is using social media. Can SCORE clear up some of the confusion over what, when and how to use these electronic communications?
Answer: The CEO of an international company I worked for once said that throughout history people have been predicting the demise of the written word. When radio came on the scene folks predicted its end. Then came movies and next television and still people wrote letters, read books, picked up the daily paper. Now, however, for the first time, we have a media that is impacting all other forms of communication and it’s important for the small business owner to have at least a basic knowledge of how social media works.
An article published 2/1/2012 in the Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com) by Bianca Bosker announces, “We knew Facebook was big -- you don’t get to 800 million users without making a few bucks -- but until today, we didn’t know just how big.” Greg Voakes, also writing for the Huffington Post says, “Facebook’s IPO is projected to be six times more than Google’s IPO. The only companies to have had an IPO of $10 billion or more were AT&T, GM, and Visa. With 500 million daily users, the math works out to $200 for each person! Maybe all that time you spent using Facebook in the library instead of studying wasn’t a waste of time after all?”
Go to any major company’s website, whether it’s General Mills (www.generalmills.com), General Motors (www.gm.com) or General Electric (www.ge.com), they all maintain a presence on social media sites. So as a small business person you need to look at your target market and determine which Social Media sites to use to best reach your clients
But, what does all this mean for small businesses? Some statistics from Facebook reported in 2010 shed a beacon on the effect of social media on the demographics. In 2010 according to www.insidefacebook.com, “Women, especially younger women, continue to comprise the single largest demographic groups within the US. In total, women constitute over 56% of the overall Facebook population — a continuation of a long-time trend.” And the article continues, “… only 40% of Facebook users are under the age of 25 – 60% are 26 or older, and nearly 20% are 45 and older. While it started as a site for students in a few colleges, American use of Facebook today is very intergenerational.”
With such vast numbers of people using Facebook and other Social Media sites, it can only benefit Northern Arizona small businesses to jump on this rapidly growing trend. Our area colleges are either teaching or actively using Social Media. Yavapai College’s Business Communications course (BSA233) deals with Social Networking in the Workplace. Coconino College uses Curriculum Blog to provide updates on proposed curriculum changes. Northern Arizona University (NAU) disseminates information through Facebook, twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Foursquare and lists which departments use which social media for communications. Prescott College and Yavapai College are supporting and participating in Yavapai County Education Technological Consortium (YCETC), a system of synchronous learning.
Watch any television news program and you will see running across the bottom of the screen their website and their social media sites where you can get more information or comment on the broadcast.
Our best advice? Sign up for a Social Media Workshop and start communicating with your current and future customers.
REGISTER NOW for SCORE’s Social Media Workshop with Ken Colburn, the Data Doctor. February 25, 2012, 9am - 12pm, Adult Center, 1280 E. Rosser St. $25 per person. To register contact Northern Arizona SCORE: 928-778-7438, Web site, www.scorenaz.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Find us on Social Media sites.