Posted: Nov 5, 2009 5:54 PM by Angela Douglas
Updated: Nov 5, 2009 5:54 PM
Roughly 360,000,000 people are active users on Facebook.
And that number is growing at a rate of almost 10% each month.
A common belief is that social media is only for young people, but in reality more than 220,000 adult Montanans use the site. 40,000 in Yellowstone County alone.
It's perfect for staying in contact with friends and family, but businesses are realizing it's also perfect for spreading the word.
"Online, it's like the word of mouth on steroids," states Social Marketing Strategist, Doug McIsaac. "I mean, it's going on, so you need to find it."
Billings Chamber of Commerce Community Relations Director, Alex Tyson, agrees Facebook has helped them connect with their members.
"We realize that social media is one of those ways that they demand that we communicate with them," says Tyson.
Communicating through Facebook started among college students back in 2004 and since then Facebook has morphed into the perfect marketing tool for businesses.
"It's added an additional place that people are able to find out what a credit union is, what we do, what he have to offer, and it's all free," explains Billings Federal Credit Union Marketing Officer, Cathy Grider.
But it's not completely free. As the saying goes, time is money.
"You don't want to spend hours there," admits McIsaac. "Because if you are, you're wasting money."
"It is not free," Tyson states matter-of-factly. "That's one of the first things that we've learned, is that it's not free. You still have to have the manpower to update it."
It may take manpower to keep the page current, but many businesses are finding that it's worth it.
"A lot of members comment on how they like it," states Grider. "It processes into their feed so they're able to see what we're doing, what's going on."
Billings Chamber of Commerce is keeping their members in the know, while teaching them how to create profile and fan pages for their own businesses.
"We've hosted education seminars for them to be able to learn more and take it into their businesses," Tyson says.
No matter where you are on the learning curve, once you've joined the world Facebook, you're likely to stay there.
"We went from 20 to 71 in less than a week," Grider says about their fan base.
"The numbers are there, statistics are there, you need to be paying attention," McIsaac states.
With 6 billion minutes spent on Facebook each day worldwide, those numbers are hard to ignore.