Question. Are you on Facebook? I know I am. And I bet your mom is too. And grandma. Is she on there? A friend of mine, his grandma is on Facebook. I know, insane right? My gran still finds it amazing that I can call her from the other side of the world (she’s in the UK). I called her once using Skype. It blew her mind! Therefore, it’s safe to say that MY gran isn’t on Facebook. However, more and more of the population, and by that I mean the world, are either on or are signing up to Facebook. By next year (just as long as we make it past the dreaded December 23rd nonsense) there’ll be a billion of us updating our status, tagging friends in photos and generally living our lives as open wounds in the social world. It begs me to ask, how much influence will we have?
I ask this, because, well, it baffles me how I still need to tell people that regardless of what you do or where you live in the world, Social Media is by far and large the best platform to connect people. David Murray found a job using Twitter. I’m not going to go ahead and suggest you all quit your jobs and find a job via Twitter—I like to think I have intelligent readers, so please promise me you won’t go and do that (The New Rules of Marketing & PR, David Meerman Scott)—but again, it proves just how powerful Social Media platforms are. So why am I telling you this?
Well, it’s clear to me that if you’re reading this, then you’re savvy to Social Media. You don’t need convincing. However, what I want is a little help from you. I want to share with you some information I read in a newspaper (yes, I still read the newspaper—I told you this in a previous post) and then the next time your hear someone utter “Social Media isn’t for me” or “you can’t convince me Social Media will work for my business” you can slap them about the head and scream these facts at them. Deal?
Pretty much everyone in urban and rural Canada, have access to the internet. According to the Canadian Internet Use Survey 8 out of 10 Canadian households use the internet with over one half of these going online using more than one type of device. About 81 per cent of households located in census metro areas and 76 per cent of households in census agglomerations had home internet access, compared with 71 per cent of households outside of these areas (cited Doug Lacombe). You know what this means? It means that two-thirds of the rural population go online! And what is in these rural places? Small town businesses!
With internet comes email, so I think it’s safe to say that email marketing in these areas has potential, but what about Social Media? Assuming that most of these businesses have a high speed internet connection (surely, it would naive of us think they’re on dial-up) what is the reality that they use Social Media as a marketing tool? At last check, almost half of Canadians aged 18 or over are on Facebook. That’s 16.3million. Which is a lot.
In Fort Nelson, BC (that`s British Columbia for our non-Canadian readers) there`s 3,420 Facebook users compared to the newspaper circulation of 2,600. Even though newspapers are still an influential marketing tool, Facebook has great potential here. The same has to be said about Dawson Creek, BC. With 7,800 Facebook accounts and a newspaper circulation of 2,100, surely Facebook is being harnessed as the main marketing tool? And Biggar, SK (that`s Saskatchewan…Sask-ka-what? Don`t ask) has half the population using Facebook. Again, Facebook has great potential here and should be used for marketing strategies.
For all the good Facebook can bring these business, the same can`t be said about Twitter. North American Twitter penetration is estimated to be at 15-18 per cent. If we look at Biggar, SK 15 per cent of the population equates to 345 people. As Doug Lacombe states, “you could reach more people yelling loudly at the hockey game or curling rink.” However, if we stick to the idea that everyone with an internet connection uses email, by law of averages people must use and watch online videos. Therefore YouTube, although it`s quite impossible to find geographical data for this, is another opportunity for these businesses to broadcast themselves online.
I feel it is only a matter of time before more and more businesses catch on to the notion that Social Media isn`t just “a fad for the kids.” We all have to do our part and make them understand there`s huge potential for growth if they were to use these online platforms effectively. So, the next time you come across a small town business, ask them if they have a Facebook page, or a Twitter account, or YouTube channel. If they answer “Yes” then great your job is done! However, if they answer “No” then you know what to do.
Rome wasn’t built in day, but once they started it, look how good it turned out.