social media researchHave you ever wondered why people decide to become fans of Facebook pages?  Understanding the reasons people become fans can help your business or brand develop better strategies.

In this article, I take a look at two studies.

The first reveals why consumers fan businesses on Facebook. The second one examines how marketers are keeping up with the ever-changing world of social media.

#1: Nearly 40% of Consumers “Like” Companies on Facebook to Publicly Display Their Brand Affiliation to Friends

As Facebook grows, we’re able to learn even more about the behaviors and preferences of its users. As Facebook continues to change, new stats surface to give us an even better idea of how consumers on Facebook prefer to interact with brands and companies. A new report released by ExactTarget and CoTweet found that discounts and “social badging” were the primary reasons consumers Like brands on Facebook.

Nearly 40% of Facebook users who become fans do so to receive discounts and promotions and 39% become fans to show their support for a brand to their friends. Just as interesting is how these stats compare to Twitter and email marketing. Only 23% of respondents said they follow brands on Twitter and about 10% say they subscribe to email notifications for the same reasons.

Here are some other interesting facts from the report:

  • 43% of the Facebook users surveyed said they Like, or are fans of, at least one brand on Facebook.
  • 34% of Facebook users say they Like brands in order to stay informed about company activities.
  • 33% say they Like brands to get updates on future products.
  • Among Facebook users who Like at least one brand, only 17% say they’re more likely to buy after Liking that brand on Facebook.

“Consumers use Facebook to interact with friends, be entertained and express themselves through their public affiliation with brands—factors that combine to create a potent viral marketing platform,” said Jeff Rohrs, principal, ExactTarget’s research and education group. “By engaging consumers on Facebook in a way that keeps them entertained, brands have an unprecedented opportunity to mobilize Fans and get introduced to their friends.”

#2: Marketers Are Challenged to Stay Up-to-Date on the Latest Social Media Developments

It’s no surprise that marketers are struggling to stay current with the constantly fluctuating social media trends.

In a recent survey by The Creative Group, 65% of U.S. marketing executives considered it at least somewhat challenging to keep up.

The graph above shows the breakdown of how challenging respondents viewed staying current with social media trends.

In addition, 23% of respondents cited the best resource for staying up-to-speed on social media is conferences or seminars. Surprisingly, and coming in second at 18%, was attending networking events or industry association meetings.

Only 14% cited Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts as their resource of choice for staying current, while a low 7% cited blog posts as their main resource.

The chart above shows the leading resources marketers cited for staying current with social media trends. Notice how social media sites were less popular than in-person events as key resources.

Networking becomes even more important during periods of rapid change,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. “Many marketers are aware of broad social media trends, but they need nuts-and-bolts information on how to most effectively use new channels. That’s where insight from peers on what worked and did not work for them can be most valuable.”

We want to hear from you! Do you agree with these findings? How do you stay current with all the social media changes, updates and new trends? Let us know your comments in the box below.

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  • Paul Dunay

    according to Chadwick Martin Bailey iModerate Research – 53% say they want to be the first to know about information about the brand and gain access to exclusive content – this is good news for content marketers in B2C or B2B Marketing!

  • Very interesting stats, thanks for sharing. I know for me, it is networking events and webinars for keeping up to date on trends. When I connect with people that are having the same issues, we can put our minds together to come up with solutions.

  • Excellent article, Amy! Very useful insight and infographics. Personally, I find posts on LinkedIn and Twitter to be my best source…with webinars filling in the details of something if I need more info. Thanks!

  • I also find posts to be my best resource for staying current. Conferences and seminars would be ideal, but how do people find the time?

  • What is the source of first study??

  • Great article Amy! And let’s not forget about Social Media Examiner as a source of information!

    I think another interesting way of viewing the emarketer study would be to understand the statistics by size of business and type of business. You should see profound differences in the sources utilized.

  • Rahulkorrapati

    Informative Post..Thanks for sharing Amy. I have few questions though..

    1.) What could be the sample size for the above research?

    2.) How do they choose the sample?

    Personally I think there could be variations in terms of percentages with respect to brands!

    For example Take the brand ‘Apple’ into consideration. The percentages mentioned above will be completely vice-versa. The order could be 1.) To stay informed about activities of the company 2.) To get updates on the future products 3.) To show brand affiliation e.t.c.

  • Interesting article – thanks.
    It would be interesting to see the breakdown in the second study between marketing execs in client companies and marketing execs in agencies – the stats would be quite different, I suspect.

  • Diana Nogueira

    This is great! Thank you, Amy! Please let us know the source for the first study mentioned on the article. I would also like to make a suggestion for a future post: Social Media Conferences/Seminars, since that was the leading source of social media trends according to eMarketer’s study. I know about SXSW (and attended this year’s conference) and Blog World, but a post with additional suggestions would be awesome!

  • John Hope-Johnstone

    Great article Amy. Thanks. The sociology of why people are attracted to a facebook fan page is very important to understand. John

  • I completely agree. I also fan certain companies to get discounts. Now, how do I use this information to help my business? To the drawing board!!

  • Terrie Mavros

    Love the article!
    One of the best ways I’ve seen FB utilized is what Friday’s did a year or two ago. They gave away free hamburgers to a million followers. Of course that cost them some cash, but it gained them hundreds of thousands of followers (they already had many), and who goes to Fridays and gets “just” a burger? I et they shold lots of drinks (high pm), fries, etc…plus they gained customer loyalty. They throw up promos frequently, and “soft sell” in between.

    Another great promo I’ve seen is from an area restaurant. “Get five of your friends to like us and post a thank you to you, on our page, and we will give you a $25 gift cert.”. So, they gained followers and will now market to them and keep them engaged with other promos. They will likely increase their “in the door” business substantially.

    I think a lot of businesses “set it and forget it” with online engagement, and that is where they fail. They also hard sell product instead of truly engaging. One needs to figure out the goals and expectations of social media, develop a plan, then set it in motion. I think far too many companies throw a page out there and just expect it to magically work.

  • Prashant Kaw

    I have to agree with you Jill. That was exactly my reaction — my top resources are at the bottom of the chart. That’s probably why staying current is challenging – people focused on the wrong channels.

    As always, a superb post!

  • I can definitely agree with the findings as part of my personal experience. Having recently graduated from college I know that for many of the people my age who I was friends or interacted with “liked” pages for those exact reasons: free stuff and to “show off” to their friends. What I find interesting are the studies that say people “like” a page and then, majority of the time, never go back. I know I rarely do, and that has been challenging for my company to continuously incorporate content that keeps fans engaged.

  • Terry

    I’d like to see this study segmented a bit more. “Brands” is such a broad term ranging from everything from a fast food joint to a city (location). I’d venture to guess that there would be a big disparity in the findings of why people ‘Like’ a page if you separated the brands into segmented categories.

  • That makes sense (ie, *showing* one’s likes/appreciation/etc. for their friends to notice). I’ll confess, I never thought of it in that way before…adding this to my mental notes.

  • I couldn’t agree more with the challenges involved in staying current with social media. I have a business development and SMM company and even though I am online 8 to 10 hours everyday working I still have a hard time keeping abreast of all the new developments. So I try to focus on what will most benefit my clients and work on those areas.

  • Great Info Amy 🙂

    Think this numbers verify that consumers still have the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) approach when they choose to Like a brand. So relationship and trust is still behind value. I might have expected a little shift in this process, but not much in your numbers indicate so.

    Staying current on Social Media?? Wow.. That is a big challenge. Personally I find it easier to focus on Social Media related to my niche. That way it is easier to provide relevant info that my customers can relate to.

    But at the same time I also want to be informed on Social Media Trends. For me it is all about my listening outposts. Information is easy to find if you know how to find it. And after I found my info I need to create temporary memory banks. My short term memory is very limited these days.. (tehe).. so have to find effective ways to sort all the info also..

    Cheers.. Are

  • Thank you Amy for sharing these statistics. As I was thinking about the question “How to Stay Up-to-Date on the Latest Social Media Developments?” I thought about advice from the author of the top ten blog Zen Habits Leo Babauta. In his book The Power of Less he shares, I quote “the power of limitations works on the task level by choosing only 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs) that will become the focus of your day.” So, what if marketeers would know which 3 Social Media Related Tasks would be most effective for them. It might help to relax more and stop chasing all new stuff everyday. Just my thoughts of course. But, maybe it helps.

  • Exceptional information, it would be nice if SM developments took a “time out”, thus allowing marketers to catch up and take stock. Company budgets are being strained on which platforms to spend transition marketing $$. This causes mid-sized companies to proceed with extreme caution, and larger companies to study and restudy before they commit. Smaller businesses can move on a time but must move cautiously and choose correctly. The information and take aways you pitch to a client today are obsolete in 60 days. I call this the age of obsolescent information.

  • Thank you so much for this great article!!!!!

  • I’d like like to know the sample size for the first study.

    And I totally agree that it’s tough to keep up with tough to keep with social media trends. That’s why we read this blog!

  • i liked this post…. one way i try and keep up with things is to watch how some other stores use facebook….we just passed 1000 likese for our store…. and are very interested in getting all the insight and info we can….

  • i always want to know about these things more and statistics make all the time things look very clear !: thank you for sharing this cause i liked it a lot , can’t wait for more ))

  • Ditto, Jill. I find the best way to stay current is to read (and write!) blogs, Twitter, and Facebook and to participate in at least one webinar per week. Conferences are fantastic, but they are costly in terms of money and time.

  • Even though I do social media marketing full time, I find it impossible to keep up with ALL the latest, greatest developments. Blog posts titled, “30 New Twitter apps You MUST Use” make me rip my hair out. Why should I spend two hours of my workday learning about 30 new apps when the ones I already use work great? Even though I religiously devote 30-60 minutes per day learning new things, I have given myself permission to avoid getting caught up in the hype. My goal is to develop efficient systems that best serve my clients — not on knowing it all or doing it all.

  • I have been considering if it would be worth creating a fan page for my business, Simply Words Editing Services. Your excellent article has helped me to decide, and the statistics quoted are very interesting. I wonder if similar research has been carried out here in the UK. Well done and thanks, Amy.

  • This is an interesting data. Thanks, I’m actually consolidating articles that I find helpful for my next project.

  • I’m also with you guys. I take most of my information from blogs (via Google Reader), twitter and the odd teleclass or webinar although will say that I limit the amount of information I take in.

    It’s so easy to get into a state of overwhelm. It’s physically impossible to stay on top of all of the latest developments. I tend to find something that works and go at the one thing in a big way rather than spread myself thinly across a wider reach and water down the effect.

  • Some great promo ideas here Terrie which can certainly be adapted in some way for most businesses.

    Online engagement is definitely where it’s at… hence the word “social” media! I’ve certainly seen a big shift in the effectiveness of the different types of promotion. What worked just a year ago doesn’t apply in quite the same way today and personal an genuine engagement is definitely the way forward.

  • Csrege

    Thanks for the article….very insightful.
    Is there a country wise segmentation possible of the above study? I am keen to understand the attitudes of currently marginal (but growing fast) facebook user communities like India. Please let me know if there any such data available out there.

  • Nice article. I have to agree with a lot of comments my source of info is linkedin and twitter more so than facebook. I find that building relations with fans is the best wayto grow a comunity and get real results out of the interaction. In a personal view I do not like to become fan of big enterprises or papers ‘cose it is quite anoying to have 1000 posts or tweets from the same source BUT I do join small pages, those small businesses in the community those that my friends see everyday on their walk to the coffee shop, in that case is also a way of keeping up with friends

  • I continually find the articles from Social Media Examiner to be excellent, informative, right on target and up-to-date on information a Marketing pro needs to stay on top of the steep learning curve. Thank you SME!
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  • thanks for the numbers- it helps to see what is actually happening as opposed to just broad generalizations…

    do you have any insights as to the best ways as to get people to be fans just because they love your business?

  • Interesting numbers you’re showing. I just launched today a new fan page for my golf business, so we’ll see what happens. I am a believer in social media, but still looking for the ROI. I’m sure in time it will come.

  • Gareth Lathey

    Thoroughly inciteful post, with the exception of the odd book and seminar I rely upon blogs and webinars like this to keep up.

    Like others would be interested in a little more detail on research background. Sample size of 500, correct?

  • jennieryon

    Very interesting article. I was surprised at how small the number of people who follow brands on twitter was in comparison to facebook. I found an interesting article that gives details on how to use facebook as a marketing channel. It would be a great way to put the statistics you found to work.

  • if something is interesting to me, then I’ll like it. Great post.

  • I find the best way to stay current is to follow leaders in this area on facebook and on their blogs because it is their role to stay abreast of the changes and be the communicator and instructor of those changes and how to best utilise them in your business. People like Mari Smith, Mike Stelzner, Pete Cashmore and other leading social media reporters make it easy to know what is happening and where you should be focusing your social media marketing efforts at any given time.

  • Could you please post the links to the original research if possible?

  • For me the best way is to follow social media and marketing blogs. I also like to study major websites to see what they are doing on social networks.

  • Cant help thinking that if people were to use more Social Media to stay upto date on latest trends they would not find it so difficult – its all about knowing who to follow and not getting hung up on reading every single post that comes out – just dip in as and when you can. The joys of smartphone technology mean the boundaries of ‘when you can’ have disappeared… 🙂

  • Hi, Nick. I agree–networking allows me to stay in the know with the latest trends and also gives me new perspectives that I would have otherwise not considered. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hey Ritch! Twitter is a little tough for me because information is passing by so quickly and so much of it is promotional. However, LinkedIn is a great source for sure. Thanks for leaving your feedback!

  • I personally think conferences and seminars are one of the best ways to stay updated (and connected). It does take time and money, but when you choose wisely and only attend the events with the biggest bang for your buck (and take advantage of the networking opportunities) you can see a big ROI that you cannot get from webinars and posts. (The “out of sight, out of mind” factor is very real in some industries!)

  • I like your style, Victoria. Get really great at one important strategy vs. just so-so at a bunch. Very smart!

  • Interesting post, thanks for sharing! Personally I find conferences and seminars very effective, but if I don’t have time I usually attend a nice webinar.

  • I fall into The Creative Groups’ survey as finding it “Somewhat Challenging” to stay current with the latest Social Media developments. As our company’s SEO web strategist, I believe search engine and social media optimization planning should be intertwined – thus my need to stay current on both – which is very time-consuming.

    Regular resources tend to be time-sensitive or concise articles.
    1. Online Trade Pubs for newest updates, as well as the searchability of their rich archive.
    2. Webinars, especially those that I can re-watch or forward to others.
    3. Twitter posts – due to their focused conciseness.

  • Govind

    hmmmm….nice to see how our offline and online existence are going thru wot Calvin
    would call “the transmogrifier” of Social Media.

  • Brianbraker

    These are some very interesting stats. The question I have is” How Does A Consulting Firm or someone who sells services build up a fan base.” It is easy to run contests and give discounts when you sell products. Thanks for a great post.

  • Thank you for this information. It’s very helpful.

    My main source of social media information is Twitter. I find much information there, including links to blog posts such as this. With Twitter, I can follow experts in different fields and create lists for those fields – a great timesaver. They find and share the information I don’t have time to research. I can scan their tweets and links, favorite some, and learn quite a bit in a short time. Also, I’ve been attending Twitter chats regularly. They provide an incredible amount of information. There are many for marketing. Use of hashtags also provide a way to capture those tweets that zip by so quickly.

    Conferences would be at the very bottom of my list. IMO, the best place to learn about social media is through social media channels.

    A question I have with the marketing results is related to the audience. It’s for marketing executives. One common theme that continually comes up in chats is about executives: how to explain the value of social media to them. The fact that they prefer conferences over social media tells me quite a bit. Would those stats be the same for marketers in general? This would be a great post to bring up in a marketing chat!

  • Eric Sutherland

    This article justifies doing Facebook pages

  • Some of the fans in facebook are not really that fans that understands your business, rather, they like it because they want to be supporter of their friends or the people they know. But the good thing is,,there are really individuals that really like the facebook page.

  • I find that to keep up with developments we really need to keep an eye on blogs and be subscribed to updates on the most important platforms. Here in Sydney, Australia it is harder to find networking groups on these topics and its also hard to find the time. What we have found is that most small business is oblivious to the opportunities on Facebook and social media in general.

  • brianrobinson1

    Having a fan page for your company can create leads and sales for your business. It is said that 40% of people who like a fan page do so to receive a discount. So even offering a small discount on products for becoming a fan can really lead to a hike in future sales if you play your cards correctly.

  • Cecilie Staude

    Hi everyone. Today I launched my english blog on social and digital marketing. The first blog spot is titled; Do we have experts in social media ? and was written with inspiration from this survey, If you’re interested, you can read it here:

    Would love to hear from anyone who interested in connecting and share experiences and knowledge within the field (-:

  • I’m disappointed the is no obvious link to details about the first study this article refers too…

    The important takeaway looks to be that most fans on Facebook are ALREADY your customers. This says to me that the slant of Facebook marketing should about building loyalty in these existing customers, and not to bank on getting a lot of NEW customers via Facebook. And important distinction!

  • great infographics here!!!

  • Lipgloss Culture

    Great article Amy! My mentor Larry Weintraub of Fanscape suggested I start reviewing this site, and your article was the first that peeked my interest. Thanks for putting together your research for us.

  • I would have been in the 34%. I really don’t care that my ACQUAINTANCES know what I like or dislike.

  • Lucia Salome

    I also wonder about the source of the first study.
    I would like to use these data for one research but cannot rely on information standing alone without any reference or explanation where the data come from!
    Thanks for any advice, reply …I think more ppl would appreciate it.

  • Rancher

    Does anyone have any information on the fan retention rate for Facebook Fan Pages? Once someone becomes a fan, how likely are they to stay a fan?

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  • Thanks Amy for putting this article together – I would have to agree with most of the comments here.

    I’ve recently set up a business page on Facebook and to me the page is about leveraging Facebook as a one:one channel and yes when it comes to retention & customer service ideas – but firstly to me. I use it to communicate, humanise and stay in touch with someone who has taken time and effort to ‘LIKE’ your page as against the myriad of info already out there.

    To me, each ‘LIKE’ is like acquiring a new customers attention and it then becomes a part of your brand experience – and not a plain ‘marketing’ channel per se.

    Thanks again for the post.

  • Thanks Amy for putting this article together – I would have to agree with most of the comments here.

    I’ve recently set up a business page on Facebook and to me the page is about leveraging Facebook as a one:one channel and yes when it comes to retention & customer service ideas – but firstly to me. I use it to communicate, humanise and stay in touch with someone who has taken time and effort to ‘LIKE’ your page as against the myriad of info already out there.

    To me, each ‘LIKE’ is like acquiring a new customers attention and it then becomes a part of your brand experience – and not a plain ‘marketing’ channel per se.

    Thanks again for the post.

  • Excellent and Informative. I totally agree on the top reasons why consumers follow brands; discounts, promos and giveaway.

    The whole idea of social media is in the idea of being SOCIAL; consistently engaging the audience, not just providing a platform for communication and information distribution.

    I follow leaders in social media through blogs and Twitter, my RSS Feeds keeps me in the loop….and my Google has been amazing .

  • I think we all know as marketers that the reasons behind our facebook Likes and Fans are just as diverse as the people themselves. My experience is that with large companies it is generally to get deals, or to be informed about the latest product/service to stay ahead of the competition. With personal brands like Taylormade, Adidas, or NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA you will get a lot of fans simple because they want to be identified with the brand. Lastly you have millions of small businesses like @NaturesArtist who have unique products with very localized followings where their fans simply want to know about new events in the area. In the end dissecting reports like this can be helpful, but I would be cautious in applying the overall findings directly to your own Social Media strategy.

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  • I wonder what the change in these stats is since this article was originally written in Oct of 2010. Would be interesting to see if in only 7 or so months, if people are still “Liking” Pages for the same reasons.

  • Drew

    Hi Amy,

    Thanks for writing this article. Would you mind if I used a few of your facts in a paper that I’m writing (not for sale)? Thanks please let me know. 🙂

    Best Regards,


  • Team Tenzo Drifting

    Lately it’s been a lot more people “liking” for the free promotional deals aspect I’ve heard!

  • Deny_winarto

    Hi Amy, thanks for writing this Article.I’m working on a thesis, and i’m looking for a journal/research that has measurement tools for Facebook like, specifically,The effect of facebook like on consumer buying decision, I notice this :”Among Facebook users who Like at least one brand, only 17% say they’re more likely to buy after Liking that brand on Facebook.”Could you tell me the measurement tools you used in the survey?i.e agree / disagree, or 1-10 scale. etc.that’s all i need .thanks

  • Guest

    It’s all food for thought, but certainly nothing to hang your hat on.  Statistics only become valuable over time, and without question there hasn’t been nearly enough time.  As the excitement wears off, and use of the facebook, and in fact the internet itself becomes routine, just like with TV or radio, we’ll be looking to turn the commercials off.

  • WHAQ

    Thanks for the article, it really sparked my interest and I had to play around with some of the presented facts on my blog. Here’s the post:

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  • Timvisser222


    Ik like the article, but is it possible to get a link to the source / reference tot he research taken. I would love to see the full report when possible 

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