Be Socially Savvy about Facebook “Likes” – Study Reveals What They Really Mean

Today, marketers are scrambling to increase “likes” on Facebook, but a recent survey, by Lab 42 shows us what “like” really means.  Only 42% of Facebook users agree that marketers should interpret “like” to mean that they are a fan or advocate of the company.  The other 58% are either indecisive (33%) or disagree with the statement (25%).

A strong “take-away” from the survey is that 46% of the Facebook users wouldn’t buy a brand they “liked,” either because it was too expensive or it didn’t offer a discount or coupon. Today’s savvy consumers are telling us that “like” is just the beginning of an online relationship.  Just because they click “like”, doesn’t necessarily mean they like the brand.  It might be because they’re helping a friend, they want a coupon or more information on the brand. Don’t over-sell, and be cautious not to clutter newsfeeds because “unlike” is just a click away.

Not all “Likes” are Created Equal

The study shows that “like” means different things to different age groups.  It seems that younger consumers aged 15-24 tend to use “like” for purposes of self-expression and public endorsement for a brand. They consider it a worthwhile bonus if they get coupons or deals from a company because of their “like,” but accessing these deals is not their primary motivation.
Consumers aged 25-34 are more likely to expect something of value in return for a “like”, and they are quick to “unlike” a company that doesn’t follow-up with discounts, product information, or exclusive offers. 

Finally, consumers in the 35-51 age group have the highest expectations, and it’s not just getting anything in return for liking a company.  They want something relevant and valuable, whether it’s information or discounts. Moreover, individuals in this age bracket don’t hesitate to “unlike” a brand if it doesn’t live up to their expectations.

So, now we know that 75% of respondents feel closer to a brand they “like” on Facebook, we also know that brands have to nurture these relationships to keep their value.  “Like” doesn’t mean marketers have permission for one-to-one marketing, instead, it represents consent to receive select marketing messages, while leaving the door ajar (or at least unlocked) for taking the relationship further.  Find out more on how social media affects a company’s PR efforts in our Schrenk PR’s next PR Bits & Bites blog post.