Building Local Caribbean Business With A Facebook Page
Most Caribbean business owners still do not understand the importance of establishing a web presence. Social networks like Facebook provide a simple solution.
It is by no means the ultimate or only solution but the most inexpensive. A web presence is much more than a web site, a blog or Facebook business page. A true branded presence incorporates all these element with a defined purpose.
Today, we want to demonstrate the importance of Facebook to Caribbean business owners by using Internet statistics on the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
Trinidad and Tobago is one of the more progressive islands in the Caribbean in terms of Internet penetration, accessibility and usage. This twin island country cannot be considered the typical Caribbean example but even in its developed state it includes the inherent typical Caribbean flavored culture, mores, prejudices and myths about the Internet. Most importantly, it is the only one that we can articulate with the authority because we are based here.
Everybody in Trinidad and Tobago knows Facebook. If they are not registered users they have at least heard about it. Facebook has become synonymous with the Internet in Trinidad and Tobago. Children as young as 13 year old have a Facebook account.
Many resist and refuse to join what they call the “madness”. To justify their position they refer to it as the “maco site”. You could find out “people’s business” without leaving your house. That’s no myth, it’s true but you have to be interested in “peoples’ business” or you could be interested in your own.
Let’s review some statistics to demonstrate why Facebook should not be ignored by local Caribbean businesses.
There are figures gathered as of March 2nd 2011. According to the statistics there are:
Exactly 403,860 people 13 to 64+ years old registered on Facebook who actually live in Trinidad and Tobago. With a census population of just over 1,228,691 according to World Stats, it means that approximately a third of the population in T&T are registered on Facebook.
The total internet usage in Trinidad and Tobago is reported to be 485,000 representing 39.5 % of the total population now get online.
Eighty three percent of the people on the Internet in Trinidad and Tobago are registered on Facebook.
Compare the 33% of the total penetration on the Internet in T&T to the 77% penetration in the United States.
Would you imagine that there would be a greater percentage of people in the US registered on Facebook?
Not so, the US penetration is only 43% compared to T&T 83% Facebook penetration.
As we said before Facebook has penetrated the psyche of Trinbago culture almost as much as the Internet it is also free for a business to establish an account there. There is absolutely no reason why every Caribbean business owner should not have a Facebook business page.
Here are some other interesting Facebook statistics on Trinidad and Tobago. Facebook calls this the “estimated reach”, i.e. the number of people in a particular age group in Trinidad and Tobago that Facebook reaches:
- There are 218,040 people on FB who live in Trinidad and Tobago between the ages of 18 and 25 inclusive
- There are 275,740 people on FB who live in Trinidad and Tobago between the ages of 25 and 50 inclusive
- There are 36,000 people on FB who live in Trinidad and Tobago between the ages of 50 and 64 inclusive.
These are interesting statistics because now it can be concluded that Facebook has a reach, in the 18 year olds and above, of 529,780 Trinbagoians.
That is more than the Express (45K), Guardian (40K) and Newsday (40K) a total circulation of 125,000 daily. Facebook reaches five times as many Trinbagoians.
What does all this mean to businesses, NGOs, CBOs, political parties and the government in Trinidad and Tobago? It means that all these entities cannot ignore this social network. It means that they must find a way to leverage it to accomplish their missions. Facebook is not fading away.
Some of the early adopters will be the first to maximize the Facebook potential but many will continue to see it as just another social network. It is a social medium but it’s also a communication medium with the pre-requisite infrastructure to support any type of communication that initiate business transactions.
Users have the ability to use email, instant chatting and sharing information all within the network. It’s the ideal medium to maintain constant contact with any group, company, organization in any local Caribbean market.
Given the number of your potential clients are on Facebook, do you think you should at least seriously consider putting up a Facebook business page?