Mintel’s consumer research has found that a quarter of Facebook users follow brands only when they get something in exchange.
Away from Zuckerburg’s social networking platform, one in five consumers overall state they only engage with brands to get something in return, and a similar number are also willing to supply personal information so companies can serve them better.
“Understanding how consumers like and want to interact with your brand is the key to success with this medium. Companies need to establish what they are using their social media channels for - and make this clear so consumers set their expectations on what benefits the channel will bring to them,” explains Cecilia Liao, senior technology analyst at Mintel.
Follow, subscribe, like…
With regards to the cosmetics industry, a lot of make-up companies already give out free samples on their Facebook page, and interact with consumers on a regular basis; Clinique and MAC Cosmetics to name a few.
Today, over one in five consumers overall claim to have followed or subscribed to a company’s social profile; rising to 28 per cent of Facebook users, and nearly half of Twitter users. However, just 8 per cent of consumers say they have conversed with companies via social media, with Twitter emerging as the best platform.
“Our research reveals an interesting picture of consumers who will ‘engage in exchange’ with brands in the social media space,” continues Liao.
“Brands who wish to use this medium may wish to think about the incentive they are giving consumers for doing so and brands should not assume that just because consumers are following them on social media, they are engaged.”
Emerging influence on purchases
Some 14 per cent of consumers claim they are more likely to buy a product or service “if I see my friends have positively commented or ‘liked’ it on social networks”, according to the study.
Furthermore, social recommendations are also gaining acceptance amongst younger consumers. Almost a quarter of under-35s agree that “I am more likely to buy a product or service if I see my friends have commented positively or ‘liked’ it on social networks,” compared to only 9 per cent of the over-35s.
Meanwhile, 8 per cent of consumers agree “I like websites that show my social network friends ‘liking’ a particular product or service.”