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How to ensure Facebook likes are influencing purchase decisions

4 min read

Brands & Campaigns

With 67% of all American adults using Facebook, according to Pew, marketers are missing out if they don’t tap into the social media juggernaut as a vehicle for creating engagement with, and loyalty for, their brands. Smart advertisers have done this, which is why there are currently more than 15 million brands with a Facebook page. Surely, you’ve logged into your personal Facebook account and seen a business page for yourself. Do you click that famous little “like” button? Well, what if you see a page one of your friends has liked? Do you click it then?

The power of your peers. If you were visiting a town you had never been to, where would you turn to find a restaurant? Maybe you’d go to Yelp, or type a query into a search engine such as Google, or possibly ask Siri on your iPhone. You might scroll through reviews and contemplate star ratings before deciding which restaurant deserves your dollars. The narrowing process takes a little time, but you may end up with one of many options shown to you that’s been reviewed by others. Now, think if you posted a Facebook status asking for recommendations in that area, and had three friends respond with suggestions. You would go straight to one of those three restaurants, right? That’s the power of your peers.

Nearly a quarter of Facebook users log into their accounts five or more times every day, which means brands have a unique opportunity to reach target demographics right where they are. And if you think purchasing decisions aren’t directly influenced by what peers are doing on Facebook, think again. When it comes to consumer electronics, a whopping 77% of those surveyed by BazaarVoice say they pay more attention to opinions from other consumers than they do critics.

So let’s take a look at three components of your brand’s Facebook presence that need some love in order to amplify engagement and sales through the almighty like:

Do you like me? As with most things on Facebook, the more “likes” something has, the more clout it carries. You might think it’s often an action given away freely, but 78% of consumers that like business pages on Facebook say they only take that step with 10 or fewer brands. In other words, likes are doled out sparingly.

Once a consumer has become a fan, an estimated 51% are more likely to buy a product, and 56% are more inclined to recommend it to a friend. So, the first step is getting that like.

Review, review, review. In addition to encouraging Facebook users to like your page, it’s also a smart idea to nudge them toward reviewing your products or services, right on your Facebook page. Allowing reviews in such a public forum may seem risky, but it’s actually been shown to help with sales. The context of a review matters to the potential buyer, and even negative reviews can help lend credibility to the other areas of the product not addressed.

MIT Technology Review concluded that well-written defamatory reviews can spike product sales, while generic positive reviews can actually harm sales. This effect has especially been seen with gamers looking to buy or download games and travelers looking to book hotels. So, feel free to unleash your users to offer reviews of all varieties directly on your Facebook page.

Sharing is caring. After you’ve hunted for “likes” and gathered reviews on your own page, it’s time to release your Facebook army to spread the word. As 80% of social media users like to connect with brands via Facebook, there’s a good shot your fans will be more willing to share your products or services online rather than elsewhere. You could conduct a giveaway or give a discount on your next event to those who write a post on their pages about their experiences with your brand. Be sure to deliver value in return for their efforts, and stay away from anything spammy.

By spurring your fans to share your value propositions for you, you significantly increase the odds of more sales. After all, around 81% of Facebook users surveyed admitted that posts from their friends directly shaped their own buying choices, according to Forbes.

So, does that silly thumbs-up button really matter when it comes to your bottom line? The answer is yes, it does. If you want to see more purchases coming your way, it’s time to get busy getting liked.

Ava Beck is an avid writer who has contributed to numerous diverse publications and spent time as an associate fashion editor of a beauty and style magazine. She is currently immersed in the fast-paced fields of marketing and PR. Connect with her on Google+.

Creative Commons image by mkhmarketing