Facebook Continues to Become More Important for Businesses

Facebook Continues to Become More Important for Businesses

By Chris Crum – Mon, 06/07/2010 – 3:50pm.

People Over 50 Using Facebook More These Days

It’s starting to seem really cliche to keep talking about how important social media is to businesses at this point, but whenever I think that, I am also reminded how so many small businesses don’t even have a website, and just a year ago, the concept of social media was still a very touchy one for many businesses.

These days, it seems a lot more businesses have embraced it, but there are no doubt plenty that have yet to test the waters, and many more that have tested the waters to some degree, but are still unsure how to proceed. That’s ok. Sometimes it takes time to figure out how to make it work for your business. Not all businesses are the same or have the same goals. That said, if you can find a place for Facebook among your goals, you’ll probably be interested to know that it’s not just the young’ns that are on Facebook.

Facebook’s size is not news. You were probably already aware that it’s huge. Recent estimates put it somewhere at 500 million people – way more than the entire population of the United States. Research from nonprofit AARP indicates that a lot of people older than 50 are using Facebook, and that might be a demographic helpful for you to know about.

Over a quarter (27%) of Americans age 50+ use social media websites, with Facebook being the most popular, followed by MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Here are some additional stats from the AARP’s findings:

– Forty-nine percent of those 50 to 64, and 40 percent of all adults 50+, consider themselves extremely or very comfortable using the Internet.

– Facebook is the most popular social networking site for Americans 50+, with 23 percent of survey participants reporting they prefer it—followed by MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, all at about 4 percent.

– Forty-seven percent of adults 50+ originally heard about social networking from a family member other than their spouse, and of those, 70 percent heard about it from a child or grandchild.

– Among adults 50+ who use social media websites, three-quarters (73 percent) are connected to relatives other than children and grandchildren, three-fifths are connected to their children (62 percent), and one-third (36 percent) are connected to grandchildren.

– Eighty-three percent of those 50+ have heard of the Apple iPad, and among those familiar with the device, 11 percent plan to purchase or want one and 2 percent reported they already have. The numbers are even higher for baby boomers aged 50 to 64, with 86 percent reporting they have heard of the iPad and 14 percent planning or wanting to purchase one.

“The latest data tells us that more and more, social networking is becoming a part of everyday life for Americans 50+, and boomers in particular,” said AARP Chief Communications Officer Kevin Donnellan.

The moral of the story is that people 50-64 are using Facebook more, and you KNOW people younger than that are using it. So, if you do not have a presence on Facebook, you’re continually missing out on new opportunities to get in front of potential customers.

Meanwhile, Facebook is getting integrated with more and more of the web itself. Yahoo just launched deep integration for its users, for example.

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