Web Marketing

Why Do People Friend and Follow Brands?

September 13th, 2010 0 Comments

Two separate studies have been released over the past week that show why people “friend” and “follow” brands on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The first, from Google, looked at Facebook. The study found that 55 percent of Facebook users do not friend or “like” any brands on Facebook. Of those who do, 18 percent become a fan of one or two brands, 11 percent do so for three or four brands, 10 percent five to nine brands and just 6 percent ten or more brands. And why do they become fans?

25 percent to receive discounts and promotions
18 percent to show others they support the brands
10 percent because it’s fun and entertaining
8 percent to hear new info first

The second study comes from ExactTarget and surveyed Twitter users ages 15 and up. They found that:

38 percent of users follow brands to get updates on future products
31 percent to receive discounts and promotions
30 percent to get updates on upcoming sales
28 percent to get a “freebie”

The writing is on the wall. Your top business social networking priorities should be to offer discounts and promotions, and to keep users informed about product releases and other company news that will benefit the user. This does not mean announcing a new CFO, but rather a new product line, an update to an exisiting product or news about how your products can help improve consumers’ quality of life, for example.

Of course, discounts and promotions loom large. Build a value system with users by rewarding their loyalty with discounts and you are likely to see new fans and followers. And, don’t stop at promoting this strategy solely on networks – make sure your website provides links to your network profiles and informing users that, by becoming a fan or follower, they can expect discounts and promotions. As always, set a strategy including well-defined limits. After all, you don’t want to give away the store should a discount go viral.

What Shoppers Discuss Most on Social Networks

September 13th, 2010 0 Comments

The latest installment of a series of reports on the impact of social media, conducted by ROI Research Inc. and sponsored by Performics, examines how consumers use social networking sites to get advice on what to purchase; how they give advice on companies and products, and whether they post content specific to various industries.

According to the survey, the most highly discussed verticals on social networks were automotive (61 percent), travel (60 percent) and entertainment (57 percent). When it comes to social networkers seeking or sharing recommendations on local retailers, however, home furnishings led all categories, including automotive.

Other highlights of the study include the following:

• 56 percent of respondents are fans of appliance brands or retailers on Facebook
• 49 percent of respondents most often use social networking sites to seek advice on electronics purchases
• 49 percent of respondents discuss apparel on social networking sites to compare prices
• 49 percent of respondents follow automotive brands or retailers on Twitter
• 38 percent of respondents most often use social networking sites to give advice about financial services and home furnishings companies or products
• 26 percent are likely to make an automotive purchase as a result of a recommendation someone posted on a social networking site (higher than any other vertical)
• 23 percent of respondents follow at least one travel company on either Facebook or Twitter

The results were compiled over 2009 and 2010, and seem to confirm social media’s heavy impact on the retail landscape. While marketers remained unconvinced until relatively recently, the fact that businesses are increasing their advertising spends on Facebook by up to 20 times more than last year’s amounts is a clear indication that the doubt has subsided.

Facebook Is The New Google

September 10th, 2010 0 Comments

Much of the discussion throughout the Web industry this week has revolved around Thursday’s announcement of Google Instant, the revolutionary new feature that has many business owners wondering about the future of search engine marketing in particular and Internet advertising as a whole. There was some other news, however, that Google may have hoped you missed, as it shifts the marketing conversation from search to social – specifically, away from Google and directly on to Facebook.

New data from comScore has revealed that time spent on Facebook in the U.S. during the month of August surpassed the time spent on Google sites for the first time in history. That includes all of Google’s properties – as in YouTube, Gmail, Google Buzz, the whole lot of them. This adds to the momentum sparked by a similar report from Hitwise back in March, when Facebook became the most visited site in the U.S. for the first time in its short but meteoric history.

Of course these are significant milestones for any company, but what do they mean for the future of the industry? Will looking for content on search engines be overtaken by the sharing of content on social networks? Or, according to the statistics, has that happened already?

Because of these milestones and Facebook’s growing base of more than 500 million active users, it may be time to take another look at how your business is utilizing the social network. We will review some of the different ways that companies can leverage the enormous popularity of Facebook – and also be on the lookout for the feature article 500 Million Ways to Earn from Facebook in the upcoming November issue of Website Magazine.