REPORT: Facebook Fans Are Big Brand Advocates

By Caitlin Fitzsimmons Comment

What every social media marketer has been hoping for could actually be true – new study suggests that Facebook fans are staunch brand advocates.

The “Facebook and Brands” survey (PDF) by Omnicom-owned ad agency DDB covered Facebook users in six countries. The survey, first reported by Adweek, found that users who like a brand’s Facebook page use its products regularly or occasionally. After following a brand on Facebook, one in three respondents said they would be inclined to buy the company’s products more.

People who ‘like’ brands’ pages on Facebook also feel comfortable recommending the brand to friends, with 49% of the respondents saying they would “certainly” do so and 43 percent saying they “probably” would.

The survey suggests the main way that Facebook users find brand pages is through advertising, though invitations from friends and web searches are also important. Fans expect more than coupons but want to feel like a VIP with access to exclusive content and promotional offers before the general public.

Catherine Lautier, director of business intelligence at DDB France in Paris, told Adweek that the implications were that marketers should treat Facebook fans like loyal customers and apply the principles of customer relationship marketing. She added that she was surprised by some of the survey results. “I was expecting [brand page likers to be] a lot more benefits orientated versus, ‘I’m joining because I actively want to recommend it to friends. I thought it would be a lot more passive than that.”

However, Lautier also cautioned that it was a significant investment of time to maintain a successful Faceobok page and that getting it wrong could harm the brand.

The survey covered Facebook users in the U.S., UK, Italy, France, Australia and Chile who were already connected to brand pages, skewed female (55%) with an average age of 31. The polling took place online between August 27 and September 27 this year.

The survey results ring true to me. Aside from when I’m researching for work, I know that I only ‘like’ brand pages if I genuinely like the brand or cause already. However, this also limits oppourtunities for brands to grow their pages beyond a certain point – since it means that random marketers would find it difficult to get people like me to ‘like’ their pages.

What do you think? What motivates you to ‘like’ a brand page? How loyal are you to the brands you ‘like’ on Facebook?