eMarketer: Facebook Users Are Slow to ‘Like’ Brands and Retailers

Branded Facebook pages are ‘liked’ by only a minority of web users

NOVEMBER 18, 2011 – Brands and individuals have shared space on Facebook for some time, blurring the line between social networking and marketing. Both types of users rely on “likes” as a yardstick for popularity, even if their intentions for being on the social networking site differ.

Branded Facebook pages do not fare as well as other types of content, though, according to a Crowd Science survey. They had the lowest number of “likes” (9% of users) compared to wall posts, photos and comments (16%) and videos (12%). The most popular reasons for “liking” a page tied between showing support and enjoying what was being said, both at 28%. Neither are attributes most often associated with brands.

The motivations behind “liking” a retailer’s Facebook site in an 8thBridge study were less about aspirations and sharing than broadcasting a straightforward, positive opinion about a purchase. Buying and liking was the only reason shared by a majority of internet users who “liked” something on a retailer’s site, the study found.

Online buyers in a PowerReviews survey were more inclined to “like” a retailer, brand or product page�showing no preference to any one type�even if the majority did not engage in the activity. The most common frequency was one to five times per month.

Among the online buyers who had “liked” a retailer’s Facebook page, the most important feature was the presence of sales and promo codes�not a surprising response from social media users who shop online. But more than half also considered the customer service aspect of a brand’s Facebook page to be important, showing that those who “like” brands also like sharing experiences, whether positive or negative.

It is not easy for brands to compete with friends and family on Facebook since corporations are essentially faceless. Then again, social media users are not seeking friendship from brands and retailers either. Instead, marketers would do better to focus on being there to answer questions, provide customer service support and broadcast promotions.

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