Grandparent to grandchildren and everyone in-between are using the Internet to better facilitate and streamline their lives. Whether it’s shopping for ground select coffee beans from Maui, Waterford crystal from Ireland or a favorite book from Amazon, product offerings are just a mere click away.
With smartphones dominating the cellular market, people now have Internet access anywhere and everywhere they go. While shopping and “googling” are leading reasons to use the net, the rise of social media has changed the way in which people interact with one another, and with businesses.
A recent CNET report found that 27 percent of small businesses are on Facebook, 18 percent are on LinkedIn and seven percent use Twitter. While the Facebook percentage may appear small, the report found that social media use in this demographic has doubled, with 75 percent of businesses polled owning a page on some type of social networking site. Boards and homeowner associations that have not taken the plunge should consider the importance of having a social media presence. For example, 64 percent of Twitter users and 51 percent of Facebook users say they are more likely to buy brands if they “follow” a company or are a “fan” of a company.
“For any homeowner’s association or large community that doesn’t have a social networking presence, they will have to at some point because you find it in every other part of our society,” says Alex Chaparro, a realtor with the Urban Capital Group and 2006 past president of the Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR). “Residents want to know what is going on within the community and this is a great way to keep in touch and share ideas. It is a fluid dialogue amongst the community.”
Chaparro explains that he joined Facebook only a few years ago and to date is approaching 4,000 friends. This, he says, has increased his profile from both a personal and professional standpoint.