The Facebook “like” option in particular has become a way for retailers to encourage shopper feedback on news, photos, inventory and status updates. According to research conducted by Wedbush Securities and reported by eMarketer, the overall number of adults “liking” brands increased from 47% to 59% between September 2010 and April 2011.
Although the target demographic for social media engagement in 2010 was shoppers ages to 18 to 34, with 60% using the “like” option and only 25% of consumers over 55 years old participating, the gap between the two groups has closed significantly. As of April 2011, nearly half (43%) of shoppers 55 years and older actively interact with a brand through “liking,” according to Wedbush. The percentage of “Millennials” — individuals born between 1980 and 2000 — liking a product also has increased, with 66% of shoppers utilizing the communication option.
The gradual growth of people “liking” on Facebook confirms the significance of using social media to drive loyalty. Shoppers also report that social media influences their product recommendations and the number of purchases they make, according to Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate research.
Research conducted by ROI Research and released by eMarketer concluded that loyal social network followers are more likely to buy a product and make recommendations than other shoppers. In 2010, 32% of survey respondents stated that they became more loyal to a brand because of Facebook engagement. In the past year, that number has increased to 34%. In 2010, 40% of Twitter users expressed more loyalty to brands they followed, while in 2011, 46% of account holders increased overall dedication to a company.
According to a 2010 Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate survey of 1,500 consumers, more than half (51%) of Facebook and Twitter users are more likely to make a purchase of brands they follow. A majority of Facebook and Twitter fans (60% and 79%) also are more likely to recommend brands to friends and family as a result of social media participation.
Survey results also revealed top influences for initial interaction with a brand. According to Facebook users, they initially connect to brands because they’re customers (49%) and to show support for the retailer (42%). Discounts also are a prominent factor, with 40% of users citing promotion news as the main motivation for following brands. More than half of Twitter users follow brands because they are customers (51%), and many say they connect in order to receive special deals (44%).