Is a social media fan more likely to buy and recommend a product because they were already a loyal customer or did their social media interactions with the company influence their actions?
Just like the chicken and the egg, and which came first – it doesn’t matter.
The facts are clear – fans of a company’s social media Facebook page or followers of a Twitter feed are the kinds of customers and prospects digital marketers want. How they became fans is really immaterial.
Here is some data to back up these claims.
1. The most optimistic of the data comes from Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate. They conducted a study of 1500 consumers that made it clear that consumers who are Facebook fans and Twitter followers of a brand are more likely to not only recommend, but they are also more likely to buy from those brands than they were before becoming fans/followers. The numbers are impressive:
- 60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a fan or follower.
- 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are a fan of.
2. Another study in October of 2010 from DDB and Opinionway saw that recommendation was far more likely to happen than purchasing. From their pool of 1600 consumers from around the world, Facebook users who ‘like’ a brand’s Facebook page are 33% more likely to buy a product, and 92% more likely to recommend a product to others. There was a slight dark cloud in this study which found that 36% of brand fans have unsubscribed from a company’s fan page.
3. The email marketing services provider ExactTarget came out with a report “Social Mythbusting.” They did not ask the question about whether a fan would be more likely to recommend, but they did ask the purchase question. What they found was that Twitter followers are more likely to buy a brand they are following than the same brand’s Facebook fans. They also brought in email into this equation. The numbers are more sobering than the other studies; only 17% are more likely to buy from a brand after becoming a fan of Facebook. But 37% of Twitter followers are more likely and 27% of email subscribers are as well.
If there is a takeaway from all of this it’s that companies should be paying close attention to their social media fans and followers. But that does not mean selling to them on your social media platforms. That’s a sure way to get them to unsubscribe fast.
They became a fan for a reason. Here is a chart from eMarketer that gives you some idea why they might follow you.
Whatever the reason, fans and followers should be a valuable part of your marketing strategy. You want to encourage them to act as advocates for your brand with their own friends and contacts. So don’t just up-sell or cross-sell to them, figure out how to mobilize them so they want to share your messages with others.
By influencing your influencers (fans/followers) you will have access to their networks. This essentially makes each and every one of your fan a hub and with each recommendation from a fan, your network of potential customers and exposure increases exponentially.
How has you experience been with your social media fans and followers? What is your retention rate?
Illustration credit: HikingArtist.com