Alright maybe not THAT obvious to executives still marveling at the technology of the fax machine. But it’s hard for me as a student of the Abraham Harrison school of social media to understand that some businesses still have not embraced the potential of a solid social media strategy – including an interactive Facebook page. Fact is, Abraham Harrison has understood for a while now that individuals trust the recommendations of people in their social networks when it comes to spending their pay checks, and Facebook makes it very easy to publicize one’s brand affinity and share these positive opinions with others. Retailers who are actively involved in marketing their products and services using Facebook may have a distinct advantage over competitors in terms of product recommendations.
According to a report released by market research company Morpace, 68% of consumers say that a positive referral from a Facebook friend makes them more likely to buy a certain product or visit a certain retailer. Take out the word “Facebook” from that sentence and we’ve got old news; of course positive referrals make a difference in purchasing behavior. But what is noteworthy about Facebook’s role in all of this is how individuals are now using their public affiliation with certain corporate brands via their profiles to build up their own personal brands (while still touting the benefits of Product X). The Morpace report states that the primary reason individuals join a Fan Page is to “let my friends know what products I support.” Additionally, a study of over 1500 consumers by market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that 60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend certain brands since becoming a fan or follower.
Individuals are now co-producers of brands’ messages in terms of their recommendations and given the evidence from these studies, if your business is not on Facebook you’re missing out on the opportunity for some earned word-of-mouth marketing and you risk being considered irrelevant in today’s marketplace.