Published on: September 26, 2012by Kate McMahon
Consumer relationships with brand Facebook pages are reminiscent of pre-teen romances – quick to like, influenced by peers, flattered by attention and tokens of affection – and quick to dislike as well.
Those anecdotal observations are reinforced by a new study that found 50% of respondents think a brand’s Facebook page is more useful than a brand’s website, and 82% believe Facebook is a good place to interact with a brand.
The survey of 1,000 social media users by Lab42, a market research company, reported that 87% of people “like” brands on Facebook while 13% do not. And the top reason for “liking” a brand is the ability to access or print out coupons and discounts. In fact, 77% of those who “like” a brand on Facebook have saved money as a result. Of those, 66% had saved $20 or more in the past year, and 17% have saved more than $100.
Those findings were echoed in a report from the online research firm GutCheck earlier this month, which said both Baby Boomers (born from 1946-1964) and Millennials (1980-1994) cite a brand offer or promotion as their primary motivator for hitting the “like” button. (The Gen X-ers in between were not surveyed.) Not surprisingly, 41% of Millennials “like” more than 10 brands compared to 17% of Boomers.
But the same consumers can be fickle. Almost three-quarters admit they have “liked” a brand just because a friend did. However, Lab42 found 73% of respondents have “unliked” a brand because it posted too frequently, thus cluttering up their news feed, or they stopped liking the brand or had a bad customer experience.
When “non-likers” were asked the top three ways brands could get them to sign on, the responses were:
• More giveaways
• Post less often
• Let me hide that I like the brand.
And that, folks, is why connecting with consumers on Facebook is challenging. A brand, marketer or service provider can’t just bask in the number of “likes” listed – because if those “likes” don’t translate into purchases or dialogue with the consumer, the numbers are meaningless. Clearly an avalanche of posts (we’ve all gotten those) will drive that consumer away, and quite possibly straight to a competitor.
Succeeding requires a skilled combination of promotions, meaningful content, opportunity for consumers to interact with the brand and feel a part of the site’s “community.” All of which requires a commitment involving personnel, time and money.
So who succeeds? Business Insider last month reported on the top 20 most-liked brand/product Facebook pages (excluding entertainment companies, celebrities and brands like YouTube and Facebook itself).
Holding strong at No. 1: Coca Cola, with 47.6 million “likes” on a page that was begun by two fans four years ago and built out by the company. (Since the article came out in August, Coca-Cola’s “like” number has hit 51.7 million).
Rounding out the Top Ten: Disney (37.8 million “likes”), Converse (32.7 million), Starbucks (31.3 million), Red Bull (29.6 million), Oreo (27.6 million), Skittles (22.7 million) McDonald’s (21.7 million), Pringles (20.1 million) and Victoria’s Secret (19.3 million).
Wal-Mart clocks in at the No. 11 ranking with 19 million “likes” and Targets is two spots behind at No. 13 (17.5 million).
When I started writing this column back in 2009, consumers were “fans” of pages until the following year when Facebook changed the nomenclature to “likes.” I led a November 2009 column with a post from Starbucks stating: “We just passed 5 million fans on Facebook. We just want to take a moment to say thank you. We're honored and humbled.”
From 5 million to 32 million in less than three years. Clearly these “likes” can last a lot longer than a pre-teen romance.
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