In April, 2015, Facebook claimed that the number of active small business pages on the world’s most popular social network had risen to 40 million, up 10 million over the previous year.
Undoubtedly the world’s primary resource for social media marketing, the majority of successful businesses large and small maintain a Facebook page, with some of the largest brands having follower bases running into the tens of millions.
Every day, people follow new brands on social media for a multitude of reasons, and as the numbers grow, a company’s reach can expand exponentially.
Related: Small business guide to Facebook
As a marketer optimising your social media strategy, you’ll no doubt want to know what makes people ‘Like’ a brand on Facebook:
1 – Find Special Offers
According to a survey conducted by Ambassador in 2013, around 70% of Facebook users followed brand pages to take advantage of special offers, making it by far the most important reason of all.
Oftentimes, people also recommend brand pages to their friends to share special offers and other useful content.
Whether it’s a printable voucher, an exclusive promotion or a contest, people turn to their favourite brand pages to see if there is any special offer whenever they’re about to do a bit of shopping.
The aforementioned statistic makes it clear that special offers are one of the most important things for brands to publish on Facebook.
2 – Conduct Research
Thanks to the wealth of information online, consumers are more likely to shop smarter than ever before, and it is now the norm to carry out extensive research on the Web before making a purchase of significant value.
The social media community has become a hotbed for debate, feedback and support, so it makes sense that people turn to services like Facebook when conducting pre-purchase research.
Consumers may follow a brand page to learn more about a company before making a purchase, and social media makes it possible for brands to establish trust and build rapport by publishing value-adding content for their audience.
3 – Keep Up-to-Date
The purchase funnel can often be a long one, starting with an initial view of your website or social media profiles followed by a long period during which the consumer awaits the right opportunity to come along, whether it’s an upcoming product launch or they’re simply waiting for a better deal.
A Facebook brand page serves as a useful news resource where people can see important updates from your business without having to visit your website every time.
Whether it’s a new product launch, a special event or an exclusive promotion, following a brand page presents the opportunity to keep up-to-date with all of the important news pertaining to your brand.
4 – Leave Feedback
Relatively few people can be bothered to leave a review or any other kind of feedback online unless they feel passionately enough about their purchase to make the effort.
For this reason, feedback often comes in the form of highly elevated praise or a furious complaint but, either way, your Facebook page will often be one of the first things that your customers turn to when they want to leave feedback.
In 2013, Facebook also implemented a rating system for local businesses (business with a physical presence), whereby businesses will be assigned a score out of five stars based on public reviews.
The rating is now displayed on the Facebook brand page in question, making the significance of feedback ever greater.
5 – Join Events
Organising real-life events is a great way for businesses of all sizes to build up an engaged audience and a strong presence on social media.
Invitees to events are likely to follow your brand page afterwards, and they may even recommend your page to their friends for joining future events.
Facebook’s event-planning capabilities make it one of the world’s number-one resource for organising events including everything from trade fairs to social gatherings, and if your business is in the habit of organising events on a regular basis, many will follow your page with the aim of keeping up-to-date with new events that they might want to join.
6 – To Join Contests / Competitions
Among Facebook’s most powerful marketing tools is its ability to create and promote contests as a way to gain new followers for your page and build up an engaged audience.
Many people who spend a fair amount of time on the social network enjoy the occasional contest, and thanks to the availability of customisable forms and compatibility with all Web-enabled devices, Facebook Contests present a great way to increase your reach.
According to Facebook, more than 15,000 brands currently use the Facebook Contests app, and fans may enter into a contest by leaving a comment, liking a post, following a brand page, posting a photo and more.
7 – Share Interests
Social media is all about building a community and getting connected with people that you have something in common with.
People may follow a brand page to show off their affiliation with that brand to their friends or to find other fans to share ideas and suggestions with.
As a digital marketer, it is your job to get people talking on social networks by posting the type of content that encourages engagement and fuels conversation.
This engaged community will gradually start to grow as chatter between your fans further accentuates your online presence. A great brand page effectively acts as a virtual social gathering for its fans.
8 – Find Customer Support
Almost one third consumers turn to Facebook on occasion when looking for customer support.
People turn to the Web every day to seek out customer support, tips and general advice from other customers, and while online forums used to be the primary medium for such conversations, the social networks have also become very prolific in this respect.
Businesses can use their brand pages for posting and promoting content that helps their customers to get more out of their purchases, and people will be all the more likely to follow you if they can get the support they need without having to search beyond the confines of Facebook.
The average Facebook user follows between two and five brands, although just over a third of users follow more than five brands.
Most people will only follow brands that truly matter to them, and those tend to be the ones that offer excellent content and regularly keep their pages up-to-date.
On the other hand, if your brand page is dull and lacking in content or too promotional in nature, people will rapidly unsubscribe.
Why do you hit the “like” button on a Facebook page? What is it you are hoping to see from that brand? We’d love to hear from you.