From Fans and Followers to Customers

Having read an interesting blog from Brian Solis about how worthy it is having a presence across certain online networks, I felt the urge to share the research…

One of the things I’m asked a lot is if social media will ultimately lead to sales. In order for this to happen we have to engage with them as prospects. Prospects are using social media more and more in their decision making process – searching for guidance, experiences and comparisons before they look to purchase or commit to a brand.

Just think about the last time you heard of a new product/brand – what did you do? Google it? Look on Facebook? Ask your Twitter following for advice?

If we’re not part of the decision making cycle, we are absent from it

New research from Chadwick Martin Bailey (along with iModerate Research Technologies) shows that connecting with prospects online has a strong effect on their decisions and activity.  They surveyed over 1500 individuals online as well as one-on-one discussions.

  • 60% of individuals who ‘like’ pages dedicate to brands on Facebook are more likely to recommend the brand than those unaware of the company’s presence within the network.
  • 79& of consumer who follow the brand on Twitter have stated that they would refer peers to those companies they follow
  • 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy since connecting online with their brand.
    • Put this into figures: 450 million users on Facebook, 100 million registered users on Twitter – that’s amazing potential.

Facebook – why they followed a brand on the network

  • 49% existing customers
  • 42% felt compelled to show support
  • 40% hoping to receive discounts and promotions
  • 27& would like to be first to know new information about the brand
  • 17% were referred to the page by someone that they knew (WOM)

Twitter – why they followed a brand on the network

  • 51% existing customers
  • 44% want to receive discounts and promotions
  • 42% for entertainment purposes
  • 37% would like to be first to know new information about the brand
  • 12% were referred to the page by someone that they knew (WOM)

Creating a presence on social networks is mandatory, but it isn’t enough. It is an expectation to engage with consumers across these channels. Some nice quotes from the research that sums this up:

“It’s EXPECTED that a company have some digital face – whether it’s on FB or Twitter I don’t know – but they need a strong electronic presence or you doubt their relevance in today’s marketplace.” Female 50-54

“Either they are not interested in the demographic that frequents Facebook and Twitter or they are unaware of the opportunity to get more exposure in a more interactive method.” Male 35-39

“It shows they are not really with it or in tune with the new ways to communicate with customers.” Female 18-24.

“If they’re not on Facebook or Twitter, then they aren’t in touch with the ‘electronic’ people.” Female 55-59

Brands that embrace these networks and engage with prospects and customers will open new doors that will increase awareness of their brand and sales through (digital) word of mouth.