Facebook ‘Likes’ Not a Good Indicator of Success

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Published April 23, 2012

| FOXBusiness

Organizations looking for the secret formula for success on Facebook shouldn’t get caught up only on the number of likes or followers they have.  Rather, it is all about properly engaging those users, new research has found. 

That’s because this research, which examined the interaction of millennials on Facebook, found that although 75 percent of respondents liked the Facebook page of an organization, nearly 70 percent of those users rarely or never returned to the page. Additionally, just 15 percent of users checked an organization's page weekly.

"We wanted to find out what the younger generation, those 18- to 29-year-olds, are doing on those sites," Tina McCorkindale, an assistant professor in Appalachian State University’s Department of Communication and social media expert, said. "They are the Facebook generation. With so many companies spending so much time and money on social media, we need to understand not only social media tools, but the strategies of how to use it."

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According to McCorkindale and fellow researchers Marcia DiStaso from Pennsylvania State University and Hilary Fussell-Sisco from Quinnipiac University, companies can fix their social media problems by offering incentives for people to follow them. 

"It’s fairly consistent in the research that millennials like organizations that give something back to them," McCorkindale said. "Instead of organizations trying to superficially push these relationships and superficially push 'likes,' they really need to understand the audience, build the relationship and engage the audience."

That relationship can be built by finding the right mix of discount coupons, samples, or exclusive information. However, McCorkindale warns that overdoing it with these incentives will turn off customers from continuing to follow the page. According to the research, 42 percent of the respondents said they left a page when they were overwhelmed with communication.  

"If you are going to be out there in the social media sphere, you need to be listening, you have to answer the questions people ask of you through social media," McCorkindale said. "If issues or questions go unanswered, that breaks the relationship. If they can’t manage the space, they really shouldn’t be using the space."

The information in this survey was based on the responses of 414 people between the ages of 18 and 29.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer David Mielach at Dmielach@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @D_M89.

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