According to a recent research report by eMarketer, a massive 57.5% of US Internet users accessed a social networking site at least once a month during 2010, and it is estimated that by 2014 this figure will rise to at least 66%, equating to 164.9 million users in the US alone.
Figures like this can only mean one thing: the social networking audience in the US has reached critical mass and marketers need to know the importance of establishing a social media presence in order to ensure that this market does not go untapped.
This article takes a look at consumer’s brand interactions on the social networking site Facebook and evaluates whether it really is worth the effort to integrate social media into your marketing campaigns.
The Rise of Facebook and Branded Pages: What it Means for Marketers
In the last few years, Facebook has progressed from a dorm room phenomenon to a business of epic proportions that encompasses a networking community, advertising channel, multimedia space and online-marketing community. For the marketer it has become an extremely powerful platform on which they can advertise their products and services and attempt to create real buzz for their brand. Marketers who interact with social networks such as Facebook have learned three key things:
- People are willing to interact with branded pages. Any preconceptions you have that users don’t pay attention to brands in social media should be thrown straight out of the window. Users are paying attention. Don’t believe us? Take Coca-cola as an example. On the 27th July 2011, Coca-cola was the eleventh most popular page on Facebook with a staggering 29.1 million fans and a weekly growth of 1.7 million fans. Coca-cola is a major brand and Coca-cola is attracting attention on Facebook. If you have previously thought that Facebook would not be an appropriate channel for your client’s brand, think again.
- People are influenced by their interactions on Facebook. Some of the more skeptical readers amongst you may be thinking that ‘liking’ a product and service on Facebook is one thing, but actually parting with your hard earned cash as a result of your interaction on Facebook is quite another. Actually this is not quite the case. The power of Facebook to influence consumer behavior is immense; in a 2010 survey of Facebook users by research firm Morpace, 68% of those questioned revealed that they would purchase a product if they had seen it on Facebook. So not only does this mean that people like to interact with branded pages, these interactions really do have the potential to hit the bottom line.
- Concerns about privacy need not be a deal breaker. Yes, Facebook users are concerned about their privacy and as a result of the measures that Facebook have put in place to put their user’s at ease, advertisers don’t have the access to the specific user data they would like. However, this need not stop play. Facebook themselves do user their data to target paid advertisements to the appropriate users and, as such, marketers who do use Facebook as an advertisement channel can benefit from data-led segmentation without crunching the numbers themselves.
When you read media reports that Facebook is honing in on Google’s traffic realm you really should stand up and pay attention. Social media marketing is only going to become bigger and better and any marketer worth their salt simply has to have it on their radar.v