If you've just read that headline and can't even contemplate why a bunch of daft kids on Facebook could ever be mildly important, let alone pivotal to your business, you might want to have a rethink. The way people interact with each other and how sales are made is changing and more importantly perhaps the rate change is speeding up. Don't be fooled by the dot-com bubble which was well and truly burst in the nineties. The increase in internet sales and social communication is now based on a solid foundation. Figures from ITU which is the UN agency for information and communication technologies reports that currently 82.5% of the UK population have access to the internet, compared to only 26.2% in the years 2000..
At Which Network we get constant feedback from switched on brokers that the time when you could consider Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites a passing fad is well and truly gone, with the phenomenon seemingly caused by the change in jobs and life styles. If I take my own family as a snapshot here for example. I work on a computer and use the internet for everything from shopping to a sizeable slice of my social life. Hardly surprising you might think given that I am writing this blog, but my wife also uses the internet for shopping, research and communication via Facebook and email, both my kids who have left home now are the same, and their respective partners, and their partners families, and their friends. In the main, these aren't special "techy" people this is a normal family with ages between 72 in the case of my brother and 12 in the case of one of my nieces.
Like most businesses who utilise the internet I spend a not inconsiderable sum of money on SEO and PPC advertising fighting to get my business to be heard above the general chatter, and yet this year Facebook has carried out more searches than Google so if a big section of your client base is out there, that's where you need to be. This is huge, and remember the other important thing which is that the decision makers in a household are now online. It isn't just their kids!.
Now evaluate this information in the light that 73% of decision makers now say they won't accept cold calls at all, 90% of consumers trust peer recommendation and another 90% of major buying decisions are based on internet research and you can see the golden opportunity or problem if you still don't get it. In fact with the recession meaning there is less money to go around, the footfall in the average high street reducing year on year and other industries spending millions of pounds luring customers on to the internet, where else is your business going to go?