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Facebook offers avenue for market research, conversion and higher sales

SEPTEMBER 29, 2011 – For physical products, it may be slightly easier to conduct market research and assess consumer sentiment – due to concrete factors such as a drink’s taste or a tissue’s softness – but customers’ opinions on more subjective, creative goods or services can be difficult to measure.

Writing for Ad Age, comScore co-founder and executive chairman Gian Fulgoni gives an example of his theater producer friend, who’s main form of market research is noting whether audience members tell their friends “You’ve got to see it!” If he hears this, the producer knows he has a hit on his hands, Fulgoni says.

Personal recommendations can go a long way in driving a product or service’s sales, and that lesson can be extended to how companies market themselves online and in social media networks. A single consumer who is listed as a fan on a brand’s Facebook page could open a line of communication to 34 of the fan’s friends, Fulgoni writes.

He points to a study from comScore, which surveyed how successful three major brands were in using unpaid discussions with Facebook fans to increase visibility among that person’s friends and family members. The efforts paid off, comScore found, with the companies’ visibility and reach jumping “between 125 and 169 percent when friends were included.”

Essentially, “more friends of fans actually saw impressions of these brands than did fans. That’s terrific amplification,” Fulgoni says.

Social media’s functions don’t just stop at brand recognition, it may also drive sales higher, judging by an article from QSR Web. The news source reports that many restaurants and other companies in the food and beverage industry are adding online ordering capabilities to their Facebook pages.

A mobile and online ordering solutions company, ONOSYS, is working to encourage more restaurants to turn their fans into diners by adding the platform.

“The entire goal with this capability is to convert Facebook ‘likes’ into loyal customers,” Stan Garber, co-founder and partner at ONOSYS, told the source. “The addition of Facebook ordering gives a restaurant an extra avenue for online sales as well as the opportunity to engage new and existing customers and build loyal fans from the millions of Facebook users.”