Saturday, 26 March 2011

Facebook user attitudes to business

Recent market research shows that "despite living online, US teenagers don't want to 'Like' your company on Facebook". This research tallies with a usability study of college students worldwide.

You'd think... [teenagers' engagement with Facebook] ...would be a potential boon for social media marketers, right? Not quite. According to research released today by Forrester, only 6% of U.S. consumers aged 12-17 are interested in interacting with brands on Facebook, even though they are active users of the site in general.
This summary of the research on tallies with a big usability study Jakob Nielsen did with college students last year which said much the same thing.

We can't expect to muscle in on social media spaces like Facebook and behave like we do on our websites. Just because a student visits your website (or even is studying with you) doesn't mean they want to engage with you on Facebook.

And even if they do, how do they want to engage with you?

Having a Facebook presence and having users 'Like' the University, or a school or whatever isn't really achieving very much.

Building an online community based on an existing physical community (or potential for a community) is much more productive but of course takes more effort. This might be:

  • A community of students who have been offered places for next year
  • A community of researchers updating on their work and engaging with prospective PhD students
  • A community of former students keeping in touch with the school or programme and ex-classmates

Posting links to your latest news items just isn't enough.

Despite Living Online, Teenagers Don't Want to "Like" Your Company on Facebook - article by John Titlow for

My previous post on Jakob Nielsen's usability research with college students

And a related article - why a business should use a Facebook page rather than profile, and how to change over:
How to Convert a Facebook Profile to a Page - article by John Titlow for

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