Two Rice University researchers studied a Houston-based restaurant chain and found that the company's Facebook fans visited 36% more often and spent 33% more than other customers. Still, the researchers say they're being cautious about the results. "Facebook fan pages may work best as niche marketing programs targeted to customers who regularly use Facebook. Social-media marketing must be employed judiciously with other types of marketing programs," said Utpal Dholakia, one the researchers who performed the study.

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