Why 'Teenage Flight' From Facebook is Good for B2B

Mark Lerner
Mark Lerner Director of Marketing, Independent

Posted on January 19th 2014

Why 'Teenage Flight' From Facebook is Good for B2B


There has been much talk recently about the wholesale abandonment of Facebook by its initial core user base, teenagers and early 20s. While the internet is abuzz with this phenomenon, and the potential it has to lead to Facebook’s downfall, we in the B2B community should be excited; this is the best thing that could have happened!

It has been reported that, since 2011, millions of teens have left Facebook. The reasoning behind this mass exodus is that Facebook is not “cool” anymore. Facebook was once a refuge for young people to express themselves outside the prying eyes of their parents, but has now become something totally different.

Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp and other “niche” social networks seem to be the new home for many teenagers. While daily use of Facebook has slightly diminished as a result of this development, older more professional types of users are filling the gap left by the exit of the younger demographic.

For years, B2B marketers have shied away from social media altogether for many reasons, including its demographic. We are seeing more and more professionals becoming active on Facebook. As a result, Facebook has become fertile ground for B2B marketers to generate leads, and establish potentially beneficial professional relationships.

What may be surprising to many B2B marketers is that the older demographic using Facebook has exploded during the same exact time period that teenage usage has declined:

  • 55+: 80% increase
  • 35-54: 41% increase
  • 25-34: 33% increase

Source: http://business.time.com/2014/01/15/more-than-11-million-young-people-have-fled-facebook-since-2011/

So what kind of opportunities does this create for B2B marketers?

Content Distribution

Updating your status, both on company pages and personal profiles, is the tried and true way to build an online community. As with other social networks, utilizing Facebook to distribute quality content is a must for any content marketing strategy.

For a large marketing team, going into each social profile and posting a piece of content can be tedious at best. Using a social media platform, particularly one that is geared towards B2B like Oktopost, is a great way to save time and reach a larger audience.

Networking

Facebook provides an excellent opportunity for professional networking. However, the networking on Facebook, as opposed to LinkedIn, straddles the line between social and professional. There are great benefits to this. Creating personal relationships with potential business connections can give you leverage beyond that of standard business relationships.

Platforms like Nimble are a great way to help find connections that are relevant to your business. As they say, “it’s all about who you know,” and now it’s easier than ever to network with the right people.

Paid Ads

Only in the last few years has Facebook become a vehicle for paid advertising. While initially met with resistance from long-time users, paid ads have been accepted as an integral part of the Facebook experience. The reason that ads haven’t been shunned is that they can be very well targeted. Tapping the power of targeted advertising on Facebook can be an important addition to your B2B marketing mix.

Groups

We all know the importance of being active on LinkedIn d=Discussion Groups, but Facebook Groups also provide a great forum for both networking and lead generation. Similar to LinkedIn, Facebook Groups represent are a collection of like-minded individuals discussing and sharing content relevant to a specific industry or topic. Although most groups are not B2B related, finding the right Facebook Groups can substantially increase socially generated leads.

The question remains: will this seismic shift in the Facebook demographic cause its ultimate downfall, or will it be a catalyst for new opportunities and business development?

Only time will tell.

 

The post 'Why 'Teenage Flight' from Facebook is Good for B2B' first appeared on the Oktopost Blog.

Mark Lerner

Mark Lerner

Director of Marketing, Independent

Mark is a B2B marketing expert with years of experience in social media, content marketing, and performance marketing. He focuses heavily on optimizing the marketing funnel by utilizing marketing automation platforms and understanding his target market. 

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Comments

Lana Pajdas
Posted on January 20th 2014 at 4:48PM

That's what I say when I'm asked about all these news that use of Facebook registered decline. Most of these news don't show the general use, but only young population. Then I tell them that young population is not our target, and the ones who actually are our target are being more and more active on Facebook.

When I joined Facebook (in 2008), it was only around weird apps for virtual gifts and quizzes (invite 15 people to see results), everything very attractive for audiences that were much younger than me. Now Facebook is a valuable marketing tool for creating networks and communities, used by adults with certain life standard and education level. 

Mark Lerner
Posted on January 21st 2014 at 8:50AM

Hi Lana,

It is quite interesting to see how Facebook has changed.

I also joined in 2008, when it was only accessable to a few collegs (Boston University being one of them, as seen in the movie The Social Network). Back then, it was just a way for college kids to meet, now it has become a completely differe monster! 

I wonder if Zuckerberg ever imagined Facebook would turn into the marketing tool it has become today. 

Richard Masters
Posted on January 21st 2014 at 8:29AM

i think it is exactly right to note the increase in older users on Facebook. One impact this could have is to decrease the attractiveness of the site to consumer brands which tend to target facebbok witth lifestyle type adds to appeal to teenagers.

The move back to older consumers may well bring more traditional sorts of marketing tactics to the fore such as god ols fahioned giveaways and priced based promotions such as coupons and vouchers etc. these are known to appeal to the less barnd consius older groups.

The combination of these two factors along with the move to paid advertising could quite dramatically redefine the nature of facebook as we know it!

And then there is the challenge of how to market to teens on the IM platforms......

Mark Lerner
Posted on January 26th 2014 at 10:01AM

Great point Richard. 

 

I am also interested to see how some of these new "niche" social networks and IM apps will monetize on ads for the younger generation. 

Time will tell.