Data on Why People Become Facebook Fans is Revealing

by | Jun 26, 2013 | Blog, Blog Archive, Social Media, Social Media Marketing | 0 comments

Mashable posted an article about a Syncapse survey containing insight into why people decide to “Like” a brand on Facebook. The most common reason cited for “Liking” a brand was that respondents wanted to show that they actually liked the brand. Sometimes, the simplest explanations are the correct ones. There were other reasons why people chose to “Like” brands. The opportunity to receive discounts was a commonly cited reason. Additional reasons included seeing updates from brands, sharing good experiences with the brand and seeing that their friends had already “Liked” a particular brand.

Why do people “Like” brands on Facebook? The answer may be simpler than it seems.

When marketers consider the psychology of Facebook Likers and potential Facebook Likers, the thinking amongst those marketers should not be narrow. Cultivating a quality social media presence for the brand goes far beyond just the capabilities of Facebook as a channel for marketing communication. Sure, communication matters and ‘Content is Still King’, but without finding a way to make a meaningful connection in the real world, finding digital adoption via Likes on Facebook becomes far more difficult. The brand experience touches on a lot of parts of the marketing mix, if not the entire marketing mix. Pricing, product, distribution and the entire product promotion strategy is taken into consideration.

The topic of using discounts to lure people into becoming Facebook fans is one that generates passion from all perspectives. Looking over the data provided, those who “Like” BMW on Facebook are not liking BMW for the purpose of receiving discounts, whereas people who “Like” Starbucks and Target are liking with a greater expectation of receiving discounts. This topic cuts to the fundamentals of the respective brands, in particular, BMW’s fundamentals. BMW’s marketing efforts include creating an aura of greater exclusivity. One way to create greater exclusivity is through higher pricing. Product categories matter as well. An automobile is a more expensive purchase than a cup of coffee. The main takeaway here is to realize that individual components in the marketing mix don’t exist in their own separate worlds. Pricing is affected by product and pricing and product will influence the way that marketing communication is implemented. Not all brands can use the marketing mix in exactly the same fashion.

Another point that I thought was interesting was the category about brand advertising (TV, Online, Magazines) leading to becoming a fan. It was cited as the 2nd least frequent reason for someone to become a fan. In sales and marketing, it is common to ask for what you want. Those in sales are often told to ask for the sale, whereas marketers hear about having powerful Calls to Action. Many times, an ad will have a Call to Action to Like Us on Facebook. I’m not sure if those survey numbers are 100% reflective of reality. I see this because any research methodology based on survey responses has to contend with the aspect of Social Desirability Bias, and Social Desirability Bias could be impacting the entire data set. The most valuable research findings come more from observed consumer actions versus what is said in a survey. With all of this said, Blackberry was the most successful brand in the sample of brands shown in using Calls to Action to get more Likes on Facebook. I don’t perceive this data as a notice for marketers in general to stop having marketing materials using the line “Like Us on Facebook” as a Call to Action, nor do I expect to stop seeing brands do that, at least in the short term.

Knowing how to use social media marketing and integrating it with the entire brand experience is crucial in developing an effective social media marketing presence. Research has shown that an effective social media component as part of a multichannel marketing strategy has been more closely aligned with top performance.

What are your thoughts? We’d be glad to read them below in the Comments section.