Report: Facebook Likes Must Lead Fans To Purchase, Consider, Recommend Brands

By David Cohen 

The latest attempt to quantify what a Facebook like is worth comes from Forrester Research, which ran case studies on four prominent brands — Best Buy, BlackBerry, Walmart, and Coca-Cola — to determine how likes result in purchases, consideration, or recommendations.

Here are some of the findings from Forrester’s report:

  • Facebook fans are much more likely to purchase, consider, and recommend brands: Forrester found, for example, that Facebook users who like BlackBerry were 5.6 times more likely to have purchased a device than non-fans, adding that for Best Buy, that ratio was two to one, and that in the case of Coca-Cola, Facebook users who like its page showed a 95 percent probability to purchase one of its products, compared with 71 percent of online Americans in general.
  • Facebook “fandom” has the largest impact on purchase: The odds of a Facebook user who has liked the Best Buy page making a purchase from the retailer were 5.3 times higher than those for a non-fan, while those ratios for recommending and considering Best Buy were 4.7 times and 4 times, respectively.
  • The value in your Facebook fan base is in their willingness to recommend: Owners of BlackBerry devices who like its Facebook page have an 87 percent probability of recommending the company to friends, compared with 44 percent for BlackBerry owners who don’t engage with the company via the social network.

And here are some conclusions from the Forrester report:

Interpret your results in the context of your brand. Every brand is different. For example, 71 percent of online U.S. adults have purchased a Coca-Cola product in the past year, compared with 6 percent who have bought a BlackBerry. The likelihood of a Facebook fan purchasing from the two brands will vary drastically. But so does the value of the fans for the brand — recommending a BlackBerry has a different value than recommending a can of Coke, and converting a consumer into a lifetime customer has higher value than a one-time buy. Companies can use this insight when defining the objectives of their social media efforts.

Profile and target your Facebook fans. Use demographics, marketing preferences, and online and retail behaviors to tailor your marketing strategy to them. Your fans are among your highest-value customers — they spend more, and they are advocates of your brand. Target your customer-retention marketing strategy to appeal to these valuable customers. Facebook fans of Walmart, for example, have stronger preferences than the average U.S. online adult for brands that allow them to provide feedback about their products and services and to offer content that they can share with their friends. A targeted marketing strategy should include content that meets these preferences.

Find out what drives your Facebook fans. Use that information to move them through the customer life cycle. For example, the top reasons for consumers to engage with brands on social media are to receive discounts and to enroll in promotions. Provide this to your customers in a way that drives incremental sales. JetBlue Airways has a Facebook “Go Places” mobile application that grants members 100 TrueBlue points each time they check in with Facebook at a JetBlue airport terminal. Since the minimum award redemption starts at 5,000 points, the application incentivizes customers to book a future flight with JetBlue to cash in their Facebook points.

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