Google has shared some results from recent research it conducted on consumers becoming friends/fans of brands on Facebook. According to these findings, close to half of Facebook users actually do “friend” brands (the term is technically “like” now), with 55% friending/liking zero brands.
Google says that the biggest reason consumers are friending brands is for the possibility of discounts (25%). Brands might like the second reason even better though – to show others they support the brand (18%).
“So when developing your social media strategy, keep in mind that consumers are looking primarily to receive promotions, with secondary goals of learning new information first and being entertained,” says Heidi Spector of the Google Retail Team.
It is worth noting that Google is becoming more and more a competitor to Facebook, and would probably prefer consumers do their brand engagement on its own Place Pages, or perhaps Google Buzz/Profiles (or whatever social offering they’re currently working on). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google referred to research like this when planning promotion strategies for its own products for business use.
In the comments of this article, someone brought up another very good point. A reader going by the name of “Web Design Syracuse” notes that a lot of small businesses are creating personal profiles rather than Pages, and then trying to get friends rather than fans, “essentially giving these unknown, unverified entities and whomever set up the account, full access to their personal information.”
“I’m seeing more and more of this,” they write. “Businesses, brands, products, bands, etc. should always create fan pages, NOT personal profiles. There is a brewing security problem here. Any one can create a ‘friend’ page for a small business in their hometown, then friend random strangers who unwittingly accept this request, not knowing if it’s the actual business, an employee of that business, or some potential stalker.”
I’d like to thank Web Design Syracuse for raising this point. I’ll take it a step further, and point out that Pages come with a great deal of analytical information that you can use to track fan engagement and improve your strategy.
On a related note, Facebook Page tabs will be changing on August 23, according to multiple reports. The boxes tab will be removed, along with profile boxes on the left-hand side of the page. A spokesperson for the company told AllFacebook, “These boxes will be removed, just as they will be from profiles, and so the page owners will need to move that info to the info page or a custom tab.”