Why do your Fans “Like” your Facebook Page?

John Hope-Johnstone

Bon jour, I have been a very bad boy and have neglected my blog for quite a few weeks. I have been working hard on turning the last two years worth of posts into my new book “Secrets for Successful Social Media Marketing”. Which I am happy to say is now ready to go to final press, (yippee!!).

I have often written about the mysterious subject of why people bother to join a facebook fan page.

I don’t know about you, but I get three or four daily recommendations that I “like” someone’s facebook business page. Most of the time I ignore them. The question I always ask myself is what’s in it for me?

Now, I am not against facebook fan pages, in fact I like them very much and I do have a fan (business) page for HPR Social Media, so I understand what’s in it for the business owner, I am just a little hazy about what’s in it for the fan?

That’s why I was intrigued when I recently read a post by one of my favorite social media gurus Amy Porterfield in the Social Media Examiner. In the article she quotes from a couple of new studies on WHY people are likely to click the “like” button. I found theses studies to be one of the first really good insights into the sociology of facebook fan pages.

The study that I found to be of particularly interest, was by Exact Target and CoTweet. Their research discovered that one of the key reasons people decide to like a facebook business page was “social badging”, or what I have called in my book “social validation, or social proofing”.

“Social validation or social proofing is a psychological phenomenon that occurs in ambiguous situations when people do not have enough information to make opinions independently and instead look for external clues such as: consumer comments, popularity, star ratings and third party endorsements to help develop a level of trust.” Wikipedia.

Social badging is an offshoot of social validation and it occurs when people are validating their persona through either the purchase of certain brands, by the organizations with which they align themselves, or through important friends.

Amy recounts that nearly 40% of those studied, joined a facebook business page to publicly display their brand affiliation to friends. In other words, “liking” this company, organization or charity etc., was felt to raise their image in the eyes of their peers.

Now this does not discount the other valid reasons for joining a facebook page such as staying informed about the brand (34%), or getting updates on future products (33%), and of course one of the most popular reasons (40%), receiving discounts or a value added bonus.

However, getting back to social badging. It demands the question, what can you do to make your facebook fan (business) page more alluring to those who are looking to grow in the eyes of their peers through social badging?

The answer lies in showing that your organization is aligned with the same values as your community. That it is involved in your community. That you are just as interested in informing your fans about the need for volunteers to clean up a park, or ladle at a soup kitchen, as you are about the new discount coupons.

This falls under Public Relations and brand image. Inform your fans about the good deeds you and your staff do in the community, both as individuals and also corporately.

I think that another proof of the importance people place on social badging came in another study by facebook, where to everyone’s surprise the facebook ads that pulled the highest clicks were one’s that aligned the brand with a social good deed.

I shall be back to weekly writing of this blog  and weekly podcasts on social media now that I have almost put my book to rest and I hope you will do me the honor of continuing to read and listen.

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