“But my teen isn’t on Facebook.”
This is a statement I hear every time I teach a class on Facebook for business. The insinuation is that Facebook must be losing steam and that in the near future some other platform will take its place at the top of the social media pantheon.
The obvious question follows: “Why should I spend time and money on Facebook when it is going to go away?”
It is true kids never want to be where their parents are, so yes they are off having fun on Instagram and Snapchat and Vine — and if your marketing is aimed at a young demographic, then you should be there, too.
But just because Facebook isn’t the hippest place doesn’t mean it is going away, and it is definitely where the rest of us should be. Here are 5 reasons I believe Facebook is here to stay:
1. Facebook is really big
The banking industry has taught us the phrase “too big to fail.” I don’t know if that describes Facebook, but the platform is huge. The last numbers I saw put membership at 1.55 billion. That’s bigger than LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram combined.
It’s bigger than the entire country of China.
That means mom and dad, grandmom and grandpop, and all the aunts and uncles are on Facebook. It means teachers and coaches are on Facebook. It means when your teenager goes to college or moves out of the house, she will jump on Facebook to connect with all the family members she misses.
2. Facebook is relevant
There were 50 million Facebook business pages in 2015, an increase of 625 percent since 2012. Schools now use Facebook to keep parents updated. The same for day care centers. Churches use Facebook to keep in touch with the congregation. News agencies break stories and politicians make important announcements on Facebook.
As teens grow up and need to connect to the greater world, they will use Facebook to plug into the community.
3. Growing Utility
Facebook is the most useful of all the social media platforms, something teens will learn as life becomes faster and more complicated. They will need a way to interact with study partners in an organized manner; a way to promote occasions; a way to reach out and make business connections. And on Facebook they will find Groups, Events and Messenger.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said his company will continue to develop new utility — like being able to make payments through Messenger — and this usefulness will become the norm.
4. Going Mobile
The one thing teens will not give up as they get older is their cell phone. They will, however, look for better ways to integrate their devices: phone, tablet and computer.
Facebook has led the way in this area, and as teens learn Facebook moves easily from device to device while remaining connected to all the important parts of their life, they will spend more time on the platform.
Teens likes one sentence updates and photos, which is why they love Twitter and Instagram. But their ability to communicate will mature along with everything else, and it is likely they will look to try other formats and better ways to have longer discussions.
Blogging, photos, memes, audio, micro-blogging, video — Facebook is the only platform where you can do it all easily.
So there you go. Facebook is the biggest, best integrated and most flexible social media platform around. It doesn’t have to be the coolest.