I’ve just returned from a visit to my home state of Florida to surprise my father on his 60th birthday. While not a lot has changed in the six months since my last visit–it was still very hot in May, the mosquitoes weren’t any smaller, and the beaches were as nice as ever–I couldn’t help but notice the increased popularity of social media for businesses.
Granted, social media is popular in the UK, but it seems that far more businesses and organisations are using Twitter and Facebook in the US when compared to the companies over here. From the independent coffee shop, to the huge department store, it seems that every American business is connecting with fans and customers via social networking. Now, I didn’t find this out by trolling Twitter and Facebook to see which of my favourite businesses had their own pages. No, these companies seemed to take every opportunity to let me know they were using social networking sites.
The restaurants I ate at had Twitter and Facebook icons and URLs on their menus, accompanied by urges to follow them. I bought some new clothing while I was there, and one of the tags on a shirt featured the URLs of the designer’s Twitter and Facebook pages. While driving, I noticed the URLs of Facebook and Twitter pages proudly displayed on signs outside of a number of different businesses and organisations, including veterinarian offices, churches, and auto repair shops. Store windows were plastered with decals featuring domain names and social networking icons, and local and national businesses mentioned their Facebook and Twitter pages in tv adverts.
Facebook has over 500 million active users, and Twitter has approximately 200 million users (although the number of active users is anyone’s guess); these social networking sites provide businesses with access to a huge number of individuals and organisations, so it’s no wonder American companies are trying everything they can think of to get more followers. Plus, smart phones are hugely popular in the US, as well as the UK; over 250 million active users access Facebook from their smart phones, so customers can become followers in just a matter of seconds while at a table in a cafe or a fitting room in a store.
If your company doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, now is the time to create one. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some suggestions to help you along: