24 Nov 2009

Make friends with a teenager

Here are two misnomers about my 16-year-old niece and her almost 1200 Facebook friends:

• Teenagers are not interesting to our business.
• We don’t have anything relevant to say to that group.

A recent Nielsen Online survey indicates that the average Briton spends as much 70.5 hours a year on Facebook. And avid users, like my niece, spend three working weeks, updating their status, wishing friends a happy birthday, changing their profile picture and so on. If you’re not in the Facebook community, or only spend a couple minutes a day there, then who do you think is keeping up the 70.5-hour average?

My niece and all her friends are important to you and your business for at least one of four reasons:

• They are or will be your customers (or your customers’ customers)
• They will be your employees
• They will be your competitors’ customers
• They will be your competitors.

It might be upper management that decides which services or technologies to invest in, but it is my niece and her 1200 friends who are driving the demand and development of, for example IT, communications, and online commerce.

Imagine, if one 16-year-old has 1200 connections and each of her contacts has – and let’s be conservative here – say, 100 friends, then you have potential exposure to 120,000 people who are directly relevant to your business – three weeks a year.

You might want to make friends with my niece – but make sure your message is relevant.

Kris Walmsley

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