Market research on social media can improve marketing odds

OCTOBER 4, 2011 – Advertisers may be able to transform their market research on social media sites into sales, according to a blog devoted to social media marketing and website design.

Inter-Studios.com says that approximately 60 percent of people on Facebook who are fans of a brand and click the “Like” button tend to be more likely to recommend the brand’s products to friends and buy the items themselves.

Companies may have an opportunity to get a better sense of who their customers are by not only monitoring their use of the network, but also by reaching out and communicating with consumers. Many who responded to the survey said they would like to hear from companies that they “Like” and another large percentage – more than three-quarters – said they engage the brands by posting on companies’ Facebook walls.

While Facebook has a youthful connotation, the researchers say users who are aged 50 or older and who have liked a brand will probably purchase some items from their favorite companies. The researchers also noted that just 40 percent of respondents said they would not be influenced to purchase products based on their “Facebook fandom decisions.”

“With statistics revealing such a wonderful connect between buying and Facebook fan behavior, it is hardly surprising that Facebook remains such a popular platform for customer-brand engagement even when so many social media marketing options are being thrown up,” they conclude.

However, it’s also important to not only rely on social media to connect with customers the business already has, but also to reach out to new groups and demographics that may not have associated with a brand in the first place.

In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Gregory Rodriguez – the founding director for the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation – says that although social media gives consumers and businesses the chance to connect with people who are vastly different from them, website users are more likely to communicate with those who are like themselves.

“We live in an age in which overarching collective identities and institutions are collapsing in favor of narrower groupings by affinity,” he writes. “Think of the decline of network television, the rise of political independents, and the nichification of politics and the marketplace.”

Rather than seeking out more channels for communicating, people are finding “refuge in narrow niches,” Rodriguez claims.