Are Facebook ‘likes’ a measure of customer loyalty? - Infographic

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Brand loyalty and likes for Facebook brand pages

Here at FreshNetworks we are big advocates of the concept that engagement makes for a better metric than the number of ‘likes’, and this infographic by Our Social Times provides a thought-provoking reminder to brands as to the reasons people declare themselves a fan. (Click the image to see it full-size).

Customer loyalty is the top consumer motivation for ‘liking’ a brand’s Facebook page. This is closely followed by the desire to keep on top of brand news and to receive rewards for engagement.

So you ‘like’ us, now what?

The crucial element is what happens after fan acquisition - converting this initial interest into long-term engagement.

Research into fan engagement suggests that only 1.3% of fans are actively engaged. The reason for this low figure? Brands are failing to deliver fans with what they expect, such as offers, interactions with other fans, and customer service. When you consider that on average, a page’s updates are only visible to 17% of its audience, it becomes even more important to provide a reason for fans to engage.

Give something back to your fans

I would not suggest that all brands use their Facebook page to distribute exclusive offers; this would not, for example, work for a luxury brand aiming to avoid diluting the value of their marque. It does show, though, that fans expect something in return for their loyalty, and they can be rewarded in other, exclusive ways, such as through receiving special content before anyone else.

…but don’t overload them

Knowing your audience and offering content that means something to them is crucial - irrelevant updates will just lead to fans “unliking” your page, however what is even more of a turn-0ff is when a page posts too often. This is where taking an analytic approach to your social media management is crucial - understanding the type of content that really connects with your fans, and the best time to post it, means that your efforts will go much further, and so will your levels of engagement.

Want to learn more about the science of social media?

Matt Rhodes, our Strategy Director, will be sharing his social media expertise in two free webinars:

  • 9th May - How to Analyse & Optimise Your ROI
  • 20th June - How to Identify and Reward True Advocates

Visit the Our Social Times page to view more details and register your place.

Should Facebook ‘Likes’ have an expiry date?

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how brands  are getting preoccupied with generating high numbers of Facebook ‘Likes’ rather than building deep engagement and this got me thinking -  if “Likes” are going to be used as  measure of engagement should they have an expiration date?

Why don’t fans of a brand have to reassert their allegiance to a particular brand from time to time?

For example, what if I “Liked” a brand last year because of some clever campaign but actually now also “Like” their rival brand, is the original brand still counting me as a fan of their product? And if I were able to renew my “Like” would I be more engaged with a brand than someone who has “Liked” a brand or product just the once?

Of course, this would put marketing teams under even more pressure to be innovative and creative in their use of campaigns and Facebook engagement. But surely this is what they need to do anyway to ensure people keep buying their products.

So how long should the “Like” last for? A month? 3 months? A year? It would be good to hear your comments and views about this.

Calling all brands: stop counting Facebook “likes” and build deeper engagement instead

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When it comes to Facebook, marketers often think that hitting 10,000, 50,000 or more than 1 million likes is the only metric for measuring the success of a Facebook page.

Perhaps this is because the “like” button is a metric that’s comparable to traditional mass media metrics. Magazines and papers sell advertising rates based on their circulation volume and TV companies still sell a 30 second ad spot related to viewing figures (the more viewers, the  higher the cost of the spot).

So ROI from social media, particularly Facebook, is easy to get your head around if you think of it in this mass media context.

Except it isn’t as simple as this.

While there’s nothing wrong with measuring the number of Facebook likes, social media is about more than just getting mass market attention; it should be used to build real engagement. Marketers need to stop focusing on volume and “likes” and should start looking at the quality or influence levels of the people they are interacting with.

Look at these Facebook pages for Pepto Bismol or Red Bull - each uses a somewhat awkward arrow to point out the like button (as if the average Facebook user doesn’t know where the like button is). Very little thought has gone in to what to do with these people once they have “liked” the page or whether the likes represent any sort of positive influence with the brand.

Marketers need to remember that when it comes to social media, numbers alone do not equal engagement  - only activity equals engagement. So perhaps what should be measured is an action demonstrating engagement, such as quality of feedback per post or number of comments posted.

Influence comes from connecting to those individuals who make up your target audience, and over time, developing and nurturing that relationship. Marketers should worry less about how many people they are connected to and should start thinking more about who they are connected to and how their brand can positively add value to that individual’s life.