According to eMarketer, Facebook users have reached 350 million worldwide. Together they are creating a community of savvy consumers, connecting with friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances to share advice, information and yes, recommendations.
I wonder then why so many publishers and authors are still not on Facebook?
Social media sites began forming in the late 1990s, and since then the medium has evolved greatly. That means social media has been around for over 10 years, and is now well established as a method for networking, communicating and marketing.
From a marketing standpoint it seems logical to be a part of this culture shift. Social media will continue to grow in importance over the next two years. In fact, it will be the most important method of communicating and marketing. It will blur the lines between personal and professional and it will distance us from email. Obama understands the importance of social media -- his official Facebook fan page "Barack Obama" has 7,161,672 fans. I feel the value of those fans will be even greater in the next election.
A word to the wise, before you need the Facebook community to buy your book, help spread the word about a video or help you find a job, get on Facebook and build up some karma points by being social and helping others. Sooner or later, all of us need help from our social and professional communities, and they will be a lot more inclined to help if you have already built a relationship with them. Post helpful status updates with tips in your expertise, share something interesting you have read or just talk about your life (we actually want to know).
I have heard many reasons for not being on Facebook: "I don't have time," "I don't want my high school friends finding me again," or "I don't want to share my life with others." To all those excuses, I'd like to say: I find that the more time I spend on Facebook the less I email, so really I am not spending more time, I'm just spending it differently. As for sharing, this is the age of being authentic so go ahead and share away.
I was not an early adopter either; I waited until I was sure it was worth the time and effort. However, today I am on Facebook daily and enjoy it very much. I have a better relationship with my clients, enjoy knowing more about my friends, and have acquired clients after they saw our results in real time on Facebook and Twitter. I use Facebook and LinkedIn as my contact database and hardly ever enter contact information on my computer. I like having all my contacts in one place updated automatically.
To all those hold-outs out there, I'd like to say social media is not the future, it is the present. Go ahead and join in, your career may depend on it. If you are in the media, your next promotion should depend on it, and your future success will most certainly depend on it.
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, an Internet marketing firm specializing in creating online awareness for books and authors. For more information, please visit FSB Associates.