Facebook or Bust, the audience Is listening

Facebook has brought together an audience of incredible numbers.  The social networking giant is today a community of people that keeps on growing, creating for businesses an opportunity to reach out directly to consumers.  But here lies the question, why are businesses still looking like ‘rabbits in the headlights’ and failing to truly engage with audiences that can help many survive during these hard economic times?

Today, Facebook has over 750 million users worldwide.  For many businesses that figure is a fantasy, after all, are we going to engage with so many?  So let’s narrow this figure down into more manageable and relevant numbers.  In the US there are over 154 million ‘active’ users, Indonesia comes in second with 40 million and a 16 per cent penetration rate, while in the UK there are 30 million users reaching half of the population. Malaysia has over 11 million users accounting for nearly 1 in 2 residents, while Singapore has a very active 2.5 million with 54% of people being on Facebook.

And the figures don’t stop there.  Here are some more, more than have of Facebook users access the network each day, half of which do so through their mobile phones.  And those that access Facebook through a smartphone or other mobile device are ‘twice as active as Facebook compared to non-mobile users.’

For many companies and organisations, these numbers are very 2-dimensional.  The audience is there, but the history and culture of 20 century business dictates that for many they still broadcast to them through a given Facebook Page.

Audience engagement is much more than a Facebook Page and the apps and tabs that these Pages have.  It is about, well, engagement.  It is about listening and delivering.  In business it is about meeting needs.  And to meet business needs you needs to re-invent itself, spending time speaking an engaging with your various audiences.

Many companies are focused on the comfort of your own structure.  Safe in the knowledge of how they have always delivered their business.  But what about your audience?  Have they been happy in how they have received your business?

As Facebook show’s us, people today are connected online.  For many they check their network, their community first thing in the morning.  People seek input, advice and support from their community that they have before they have spent money.  Today, people are happy to share bad experience, which shapes many companies brands and reputations.

While engagement is certainly not as cheap as business thinks it is, it creates a much more personal relationship than brands have ever had with it’s audiences.  It creates the loyalty, the holy-grail of business relationships that many aspire for.

Think about it this way, how do you like being talked at?

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