Facebook has changed the way people connect with brands. Marketing research has found that Facebook users who have been prompted to sign up with certain brand pages are more likely to purchase products from these brand names and pass information about that brand to their friends and family.
About 75 percent of Facebook users who “liked” a brand or product were invited by an advertisement, according to DDB Worldwide and Opinionway Research. Buttons on Facebook have changed from “Become a Fan” to “Like.” Many marketing researchers believe the change has resulted in more consumer engagement with the brand.
How does such a subtle change make a difference in brand loyalty and consumer engagement? More than 20 million people “like” pages each day. Researchers believe giving Facebook users the ability to “like” a brand or product allows the user to develop an opinion about it, whereas “becoming a fan” might imply a greater level of commitment. The word “fan” is generally associated with someone who is overenthusiastic about something. Just because a Facebook user might like a certain product does not necessarily mean they are a fan of it. This brand following becomes a form of self expression for many Facebook users while other users “like” pages to get the latest information on sales, promotions, contests and new product releases.
Brands are driving consumers from their websites to their Facebook pages to generate conversation about the promotions of products and services. Recent examples include the Old Spice social media campaign and Skittles promotion to bury David Phoenix in more than 3 million candy pieces.
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The average Facebook user writes more than 25 comments on Facebook each month. This conversation helps to build a branding community where consumers can discuss what products and services they like the most. Brands realize the value in having a presence on Facebook and understand the importance of offering deals and discounts to their followers. By becoming part of the conversation about their products, brands can better serve consumers. Facebook users who “like” a brand feel more empowered and are more likely to remain loyal to a brand as long as they are engaged in the conversation.