Last week, in preparation for the upcoming Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum I was researching analysts and their latest reports to see who I’d like to meet. Gina Sverdlov was near the top of my list based on her background and past research. Coincidently, we’ve been working with Melissa Parrish, another analyst, on an upcoming webinar that will dive into some of her new research about social and mobile customer trends. You can register here,
Well, Gina and Melissa with Reineke Reitsma just posted a new report. I’ve read it and it’s fascinating.
The Facebook Factor (membership required to download full report)
Their findings are simple – Facebook fans are worth far more. They are more likely to consider, buy and recommend your brand than non-fans.
For example, the odds of a Best Buy Facebook fan purchasing the brand are 5.3 times higher than a non-fan, while the odds of a fan recommending and considering the brand for future purchase are 4.7 and 4.0 times higher, respectively.
These are big big numbers considering the study looked at Coca-Cola, Walmart, Best Buy and RIM, wow.
They also compare Facebook fandom to other factors that influence purchase like closeness to a Walmart store, actively looking for consumer electronics and active smartphone use, for example. Being a Facebook fan crushes every other influence across purchase, consideration and recommendation. Amazing.
What the report finds is that Facebook is a great place to aggregate and engage loyalists/brand advocates.
The value in your Facebook fan base is in their willingness to recommend.
In a great paragraph helping us understand the difference between causation and correlation, they clearly state that being a fan doesn’t make your customers buy more.
Their key takeaways are particularly poignant,
The positive brand impact of Facebook “fandom” reinforces the customer life cycle
Similar to your house list, Facebook is a place to re-activate existing customers. Unlike your house list, Facebook is also a place to acquire new customers and loyalists through the power of sharing/recommendation.
Locating brand advocates has just become a bit easier for companies
As noted above, it make A LOT of sense to invest in aggregating Facebook fans and rewarding them there. It’s far more cost effective, aligns to your existing social marketing efforts and with social and mobile commerce efforts can directly deliver revenue and customer insights.
Driving brand advocacy is the next step
As we’ve learned from our more general social efforts, delivering compelling content and engaging fans is required to get real return out of these investments. As we’ve been sharing to anyone who will listen, the source of your brand advocacy is your products. Retailers must develop inspiring social and mobile retail experience that make it easy to discover, buy and share their products.
While the report doesn’t mention this nuance I think it’s important to share. With ~40% of Facebook traffic coming from mobile devices these two worlds are deeply intertwined. If you’re not developing your social experiences to be optimized in mobile you’re not only missing the opportunity to fully leverage this incredibly powerful fan base but are also damaging the loyalty you’ve worked so hard to create.
Thanks Gina, Melissa and Reineke for another great report, looking forward to meeting you all next week and learning even more.