March 14, 2013

Why Facebook Users “Like” a Company

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Do they like you? Like, really like you? And why?

ExactTarget, a provider of on-demand e-mail and interactive marketing solutions, conducted a study on the habits of Facebook users to uncover what makes them click that little “like” button. After polling 1,500 consumers, the study found that although most Facebook frequenters are there to connect with friends and for entertainment purposes (let’s call a spade a spade: i.e., a little friendly cyber-stalking), when they “like” a company, it’s for the “social branding” and potential discounts.

Discounts are self-explanatory -- who doesn’t want to save a dollar or two these days? -- but just what is social branding? That’s the 21st-century way of supporting a business: publicly displaying brand affiliations to your friends. Thirty-nine percent of Facebook users cited this reason for “liking” a brand. In contrast, people are nearly two times less likely to name this as a motivator for following a company on Twitter, and almost four times less likely to say it’s why they subscribe to e-mail communications.

Of the 43 percent of people who do “like” a company on Facebook, here’s the full list of reasons why:

  • 40%: To receive discounts and promotions
  • 39%: To show my support for the company to others
  • 36%: To get a “freebie” (e.g., free samples, coupon)
  • 34%: To stay informed about the activities of a company
  • 33%: To get updates on future products
  • 30%: To get updates on upcoming sales
  • 29%: For fun or entertainment
  • 25%: To get access to exclusive content
  • 22%: Someone recommended it to me
  • 21%: To learn more about the company
  • 13%: For education about company topics
  • 13%: To interact (e.g., share ideas, provide feedback)

The bad news? Less than half of people feel marketers are welcome participants on social networks, and only 17 percent are more likely to purchase something after “liking” a company on Facebook. The good news? Sheer number of people who “like” you is less important than how you engage those who do.

“Consumers use Facebook to interact with friends, be entertained and express themselves through their public affiliation with brands — factors that combine to create a potent viral marketing platform,” said Jeff Rohrs, principal of ExactTarget’s research and education group, in a press release. “By engaging consumers on Facebook in a way that keeps them entertained, brands have an unprecedented opportunity to mobilize fans and get introduced to their friends.”

For examples of companies using Facebook well, the five favorites from the survey were Oreo, Wal-Mart, Victoria’s Secret, iTunes and Dove.

Mario Medina

Mario is the Creative Director of madison/miles media. He has a wife, two kids, a dog, a fish (but it might be dead — hard to tell) and an unhealthy obsession with Batman.