Social media users likely to act on brand referrals
Facebook friends very influential, finds survey
A new study has found that people who are recommended a product by a Facebook friend are more likely to buy it.
Previous research has shown that customers who follow a brand on Facebook are more likely to buy it.
Now the new study, conducted by Morpace, has found that their friends are also paying attention. Nearly 70% of users of the social media site are also more likely to buy a product that is recommended to them by a friend on Facebook. Furthermore, one in three Facebook users also use the social website to do product research before they buy an item.
Fan pages are best utilized to facilitate this, says the study. Consumers use fan pages to let their friends know what products they support, to stay current on a company’s product offerings, and to learn more about a company. Businesses can encourage users to become fans by offering exclusive coupons and discounts on the fan page.
Morpace found that coupons and discounts were main reasons to join a fan page, cited by 37% of Facebook users.
On average, a Facebook user will join 9 or 10 fan pages. Fifty-one percent of users will spend more than 15 minutes on a fan page per visit.
Facebook has opened up a completely new way for businesses to market their products to consumers. A study by iStrategy Labs found that Facebook’s US user base grew from 42 million to 103 million in 2009, and is expected to continue to grow in 2010.
The racial and ethnic background of users also influenced their fan page activity, with white Facebook users generally being the least likely to become a fan of brands and retailers.
Hispanic users had the greatest propensity to become fans in all the categories studied by Morpace. One-half of Hispanic respondents said Facebook was a good tool for researching new products, compared with 46% of Asians, 44% of African-Americans and just 31% of whites.
Asked what they have discussed with Facebook friends, users polled reported topics including restaurants/grocery stores/food (38%), technology (26%), sporting and outdoor goods or athletic gear (15%) and children’s toys and games (12%).
“The results show us that Facebook is a tool for retailers to directly communicate with their target marketer,” Morpace retail VP Kristen Dunyes said. “Retailers can offer consumers product information and exclusive coupons and discounts to create viral buzz among Facebook consumers.”
Facebook members who become brand fans get messages from those favorite brands automatically posted to their news feed, where they’re available both to the members and to any Facebook friends they permit to see their feeds. Thus fanning can serve a viral purpose within Facebook.
Morpace’s March Omnibus report also confirmed the broad user appeal of Facebook. While 83% of respondents 18-34 said they have an account on the number one social network, more than three in five of those 35-54 (61%) made the same claim—as did 48% of those surveyed over 55 years old. humans.