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Ripe for the Picking: How Businesses Can Leverage Social Media Marketing :

In a new study by Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey, it turns out that over half of Facebook users respond to social media marketing. And let’s not forget that there are currently over 750 million active Facebook users. The study included responses from 1,491 Facebook users 18 and older spread throughout the United States.

To set the stage, some of the noteworthy data that came from this study showed that 52% of respondents spend over an hour a week on Facebook, and Facebook was by far the preferred social media site used to interact with their favorite brands. And it’s not that users are spreading their brand-love around aimlessly. The study showed that 78% of people who “like” brands on Facebook like fewer than 10 brands total. That means less competition from other brands on your fans’ newsfeeds.

But to squash the “chicken or the egg” question as to whether fanning a brand makes one a new customer or if people fan a brand because they are already a customer, most people (58%) fan the brand because they are already a customer and 57% of users do it to receive discounts and promotions. However, 56% of consumers also say that they are “more likely” to recommend a brand to a friend after becoming a fan on Facebook, and 51% of consumers say they are “more likely” to buy a product since becoming a fan on Facebook. What loyalty there is among Facebook fans it seems.

And to prove their loyalty, 76% of the survey’s respondents said they have never “un-liked” a brand on Facebook after fanning their page. Of course, Facebook just announced that users can no longer hide posts from friends or brands in their newsfeeds, so this may mean that in order to “ignore” someone or a brand, it will mean “un-friending” or “un-liking” them.

For those brands that have Facebook pages (and why shouldn’t you?), it really comes down to posts, as 77% of consumers say the primary way they interact with brands on Facebook is through reading their posts and newsfeeds, so businesses will do well to spur on conversation and make posts pop with dialogue.

To further drive home this point, Mark Schmulen, general manager social media of Constant Contact said in a statement, “This data reinforces the need for businesses to be active on Facebook. Consumers are not only willing to connect with brands on Facebook, but those that do are also more likely to buy from and recommend brands to their friends. The key is remembering that it’s not just about getting the ‘Like;’ it’s about what you do to keep your fans engaged when they aren’t right in front of you. This means posting content that will both help you to build stronger relationships as well as to compel fans to share your content with their friends. The ability to easily share content across a wide network is what makes Facebook such a powerful referral engine.”