I read about this phenomenon at http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2011/06/is-facebook-going-gray.html but it is being reported in a few places. It may not even be news to you.
Hands up anyone in the 55+ demographic with a Facebook account that they use at least weekly. [My hands up.] I’m part of the 8% increase between November 2010 and April 2011. Perhaps you realised it was a smart way to stay in contact with friends and relatives that no longer live close enough to visit regularly or it was easier than leaving messages on an answering machine or making long distance phone calls (you might like to add Skype to your repertoire to help with this). The reason doesn’t matter. You and / or some of your friends have joined more than 800 million active users worldwide (October 2011 http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics). The article doesn’t tell us what percentage of the 800 million are actually 55+, but it is clearly a growing and significant number.
Just because you aren’t 55+ or don’t have a Facebook account, don’t imagine this trend doesn’t impact you and your business. The numbers quoted in the article are all US-centric but they represent a trend likely to be reflected in lots of markets around the world.
Why is this discussion relevant on this blog? Facebook is being used by an increasing older demographic. This demographic is becoming more familiar with the web and increasingly more likely to make purchases or at least to do research for those purchases online. Global Financial Crisis not withstanding, this demographic may have some significant spending power. As a business owner you need to consider every opportunity to connect with potential customers or secure a relationship with an existing customer.
Facebook provides a number of ways to interact with that demographic. The most obvious are:
- Use Facebook ads (targeting an appropriate audience); and
- Build a Facebook fan page (to present information or seek feedback)
Can you afford to ignore an opportunity to connect with potential customers?