I love this study and research from a bakery/cafe in Texas called Dessert Gallery that was featured on the AllFacebook blog. The research documents some of the value that brands get from having a Facebook fan page. Researchers at Rice University published a report to see the dollar value of Facebook fans and how they impact actual sales.
Take home message: Facebook fans became more loyal customers who not only visit more often but tell their friends about you.
Facebook now has more than 400 million users and they themselves are loyal – visiting the site practically every single day.
Here's how the study worked:
1. They sent an email to 13,270 customers asking for their participation in the study. Just 689 responded.
2. A Facebook fan page was created for the bakery. They put pictures of their products, “news about contests and promotions, links to favorable reviews, and introductions to DG employees.” If you want to know what to do on your Facebook Page, take note!
3. They asked everyone on the mailing list to become a fan on Facebook.
4. 3 months later they survey the new fans and everyone on the email list.
- Fans spent the amount of money per visit but they went to the bakery more often than people who didn't become fans. They visited 20% more. Figure out what that could do to your store if you had 20% more visits from even 5% of your customers.
- Fans were more likely to recommend the bakery to their friends. Over 20% more likely than people who weren't fans on Facebook. So these folks will not only come more often but they'll introduce new customers to you.
- Fans had a higher emotional attachment to the bakery. Isn't that interesting? When you engage with people they feel differently about you. They come to visit more often, they talk about you. To me this is exactly why major brands are engaging with B list bloggers right now – to get that emotional connection and familiarity. But mostly to tap into the trust that these bloggers have with their readers.
Just 5% of the 13,000+ customers became a fan of the bakery on Facebook. So the results could be even more dramatic if they launched a campaign to attract more fans. Like giving a coupon for a free cookie or something for people who become fans.
Here's the part I love: “We also foresee future products that will enable customers to become fans of companies on the spot, which means the opportunity for instant engagement will be much greater in the near future.” I think there's a real need for this type of product.
I hear there's a restaurant in Utah that has a computer up in their restaurant which is open to their fan page on Facebook. That would be a great way for people to join and update your wall with comments and reviews right then and there. Most of your customers won't do that and I bet if they do it also increases loyalty and the relationship in general.
I love seeing ROI attached to social networking. Forming positive relationships and building trust with people is good for business. We've known this all along. It turns out social networks are ideal for building relationships with your customers.
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