So you got into the social networking game, using Facebook as your primary means of communication. You’re creating great, shareable content on a regular basis, building your page’s Likes, and keeping your information up-to-date.
Over the past year or so, studies have revealed increasing exodus of young people from Facebook. Where once they flocked to the fledgling social media site, it appears that kids now avoid it in favor of more focused platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine. Newcomer WhatsApp, a cross-platform messaging app, is also popular.
Why? Well, it turns out that having your parents (and grandparents) on Facebook isn’t the biggest draw for young people. What used to be a fun, low-stakes environment for communicating with friends has become a social media Panopticon where parents, authority figures, and future bosses can watch your every move—past and present. You can imagine that posting those photos from the party Saturday night is a lot less fun when you have to imagine what your aunt will think.
Why You Shouldn’t Be Worried
The reason is two-fold. First of all, Facebook’s shift into the mainstream may be bad for building up young users, but it’s great for pulling in and cementing older ones. Where Facebook was once regarded with a skeptical eye by most people over 30, it is now a widely accepted networking tool. For adults, having a Facebook account is in some ways like an internet drivers’ license—not technically required, but extremely useful.
So while teen Facebook usage is dropping off, it continues to rise for the older crowd, and with that demographic shift comes an increase in credibility. The same accountability that pushes kids away from Facebook draws legitimate users interested in communicating and creating relationships. And that accountability is extremely useful for companies looking to use Facebook to get in touch with their customers.
The second reason is simpler – kids aren’t the ones drawing a salary. As much as it might be desirable for a social network to draw young users, for the businesses using that network, it’s all about the customers. And for most businesses—especially those in the home services industry—younger users simply aren’t making purchases. It is their parents and grandparents who will be opening their wallets based on your company’s social media savvy.
Should You Follow the Teens?
Hopefully it’s clear by now that you shouldn’t shut down your company’s Facebook page based on this demographic shift. But one lesson you can learn is that it pays to establish a presence on new social media sites.
Companies used to be reluctant to jump on every new social media bandwagon, fearful of diluting their brands by appearing on every flavor-of-the-week website. But hopefully you’ve learned by now that it can only hurt your brand to not plant a flag on any relatively popular social media platform. Not only does it help you build links and establish credibility, but it also prevents others from painting an unflattering picture of your business. You want to be in control of your brand everywhere you can.
So, go ahead, jump on Instagram and Vine. Just don’t forget about ol’ Facebook—because your customers certainly haven’t.