Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Why we become a brand liker on Facebook?

I have just become a Red Bull Facebook fan. Honestly I don’t know what compelled me to sign up. Yes, I do like all extreme sport images they post. But being a Master of Marketing student, I query about if there is something more than simply being a Facebook fan of particular brand, or whether or not it actually affects my purchasing habits of Red Bull?

Why do consumers sign up for brand pages in social networks? This question has become the focal interest in many marketers when trying to calculate ROI and find out the real value in brand social media subscribers. And do we, as marketers, actually understand what the reason why people ‘like’ particular brand on Facebook?

New research “The Value of a Facebook Fan 2013” conducted by Syncapse shows that 78 per cent of brand Facebook fans are already existing product or services customers. As a rule, it is primarily for restaurants, large retailers, FMCG-sector. However, there are exceptions - brands whose products are desired by many, but not available to everyone. For example, subscribers of BMW are only 36% of its clients.

The study focused on the Facebook communities of top the 20 brands in key consumer categories and involved over 2,080 people through evaluating some key factors like spending, loyalty, willingness to recommend, acquisition cost, and brand empathy.

Syncapse found that 49 per cent have become brand fans because they truly like the specific brand and thus use Facebook to support beloved brand. Other 31 per cent consider brand Facebook page as place where they can share their personal good experiences.

While real brand fans and supporters dominate Facebook pages, there is still 42 per cent those who primarily subscribe to brand pages “to get a coupon or discount.” Research shows that in some cases showed in popular retail brands like Zara, H&M and Wal-Mart – people have become brand Facebook likers while hunting for valued benefits such as coupons and discounts rather than aiming to support the brand.

Going through the research paper, I found myself between those 41 per cent who simply want to be updated with the brand news, and those 35 per cent willing “to participate in contests”. In this case, the question is whether or not my particular “like” could bring any value to Red Bull.

Seriously, it has become pretty obvious from the research that with the goal to multiply our social media efforts and investments, we as marketers need to clearly understand and tap into the motivation of our brand fans. Instead of wasting our marketing budget on fan-hunters looking for a bargain, we should further build the emotional ties and relationships with the 49 per cent of loyal brand likers.

Elena Sveshnikova
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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