Written on January 7, 2011
Social media has these cool built-in scorecards. Numbers of followers. Numbers of posts. Page views, click-through, bounce rates, re-tweets, Klout. Okay, lots of metrics. So what’s it mean if somebody has a 50 Friends on Facebook? Or a 1,000 Friends on Facebook?
Sometimes we can become obsessed with the trivial. The numbers don’t really mean anything. A thousand friends aren’t really “friends” anyway, right? They’re barely acquaintances – if that at all – and if I had a thousand “friends”, it’s not like 80-percent of those people are going to instantly recall who I was or let me couch-surf for an evening on their sofa. And the reality is that most Facebook users maintain a close, mutually-interactive relationship with but a tiny minority of their Facebook friends.
So if they’re not going to earn me anything, if they’re not likely to buy anything from me, if they’re not likely to hear my sob stories or console me when I’m sick, if my celebrity is barely acknowledged even by my own dog, and if they’re not going to pitch-in and pay my utility bills, then what’s the point? (Now, if you’re interested, I did do the math and I figured out that if each of my Facebook friends contributed just 68-cents a month it’d cover my cable bill. Oooo.)
Recently, I wrote about how an ROI on Facebook “friending” might be quantified with Average Customer Lifetime Value and that’s a financial way to look at the value of Facebook Friends. Now, that’s how a “friend” on Facebook could mean something to a business.
Here are some other ideas from Lauren Bianchi ViralBlog. A study of over 1,500 consumers on Facebook and Twitter concluded:
1. Facebook users that “Friended” or LIKED a product/business page were 51-percent more likely to buy; that number was 67-percent from Twitter users.
2. Similarly, 60-percent of Facebook users in the survey that “Friended” or LIKED a product/business page were more likely to recommend others to product/brand; 79% for Twitter users.
Social Media Statistics also seem to suggest having Facebook fans is advantageous.
“Among Facebook fans, the top reasons for being a fan were being a customer (49%) and to show support (42%), with discounts and promotions coming in third (40%). while 34% found it entertaining to be a fan! On Twitter the numbers were slightly higher as the customer won out (51%), discounts (44%) and fun (42%).”
More facts about the use of Social Media from a study “Exploring the Link Between Customer Care and Brand Reputation in the Age of Social Media,” by the Society for New Communications Research, there is a growing group of consumers using social media to research companies…:
- 59% of respondents use social media to “vent” about a customer experiences
- 72% of respondents research companies’ customer experiences
- 84% of respondents consider the quality of customer experiences at least sometimes in their decision to do business with a company
- 74% choose companies/brands based on others’ experiences shared online
- 81% believe that blogs, online rating systems and discussion forums can give consumers a greater voice
- Less than 33% believe that businesses take customers’ opinions seriously
Some other factors that should lend some attention. In July 2010, Neilsen suggests that spending time on social networks is the biggest thing people do on the web
; Americans spend 1/3 of their online time communicating across the web with social media. 48-percent of customers
use blogs and other forms of social networking to talk about their experiences with brands. Over 100 million people are on Twitter, and more than 500 million on Facebook, and more than fifty percent of Facebook’s user base logs in each day. And finally, some perceptions from consumers about brands uninvolved with social networking
- “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
When looking at numbers like these – some of the trends or demographics concerning social media usage, or looking at the way that consumers use social media to connect to products or brands, or looking at consumer’s perceptions of brands that don’t use social media – the value of a Facebook “friend” to businesses, at least, starts becoming patently clear.
So, to a business, what’s a 1,000 friends on Facebook worth? Being they’re 50-60 percent more likely to buy and recommend your products and services; that just about 600 of them will vent about products and services online; that a little shy of 800 of them believe that social media gives consumers a voice; that 51-percent of them might be looking for promotions and 42% for “fun and entertainment” from the brand; that over 700 of them research company experiences prior to making purchasing decisions; that some consumers feel like having no social media presence is out-of-touch and disconnected from consumer expectations?
Why, they’re invaluable. If anything, simply to listen to. More-over, to actually respond to. Probably the worst thing you can do is take that LIKE for granted.