A new study helps companies learn how to move beyond superficial use of social media to more active consumer commitment.
Researchers say that it takes more than being “liked” to keep fans engaged,
According to Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., organizations must learn to keep individuals who “liked” the page engaged, especially if those fans comprise the “Millennials” – individuals 18 to 29 years old. As such, experts advise tracing the activity of “Millennials” on a company’s Facebook page.
“We wanted to find out what the younger generation, those 18- to 29-year-olds are doing on those sites. They are the Facebook generation,” McCorkindale said.
McCorkindale and colleagues surveyed 414 individuals between ages 18 and 29 about their interaction with organizations Facebook pages.
“With so many companies spending so much time and money on social media, we need to understand not only social media tools but the strategies of how to use it,” McCorkindale said.
They found that while 75 percent said they had “liked” a profit or non-profit organization on Facebook, 69 percent said that once they “liked” the organization, they rarely or never returned to the fan page.
Only 15 percent of the respondents said they visited organizations’ fan pages weekly. Most respondents (44 percent) spent less than 30 minutes a day on Facebook.
In the research, investigators discovered that Millennials fail to frequently visit an organization’s Facebook because the site does not reward or entice individuals to come back. “In public relations, one of the basics of what we do is build relationships to hopefully get individuals to engage in some sort of behavior,” she said.
“It’s clear that the 18- to 29-year-olds are not as invested in an organization as the organization may think they are when they click the ‘like’ button or click ‘follow.’ It’s fairly consistent in the research that Millennials like organizations that give something back to them.”
Common incentives used to entice an individual to return to a Facebook page include discounts, coupons, sample products or information that a person might not receive elsewhere.
However, researchers learned that too much can turn the Millennial generation away for the site.
“There is a threshold where Millennials will disconnect from an organization or group if they become too annoyed with the volume of emails or updates they are receiving,” McCorkindale added.
Forty-two percent of those surveyed said they left a Facebook page when it became to annoying.
Researchers found that the Millennials age group learned of fan pages through friends or by stumbling on the page. Only 28 percent said they had actively searched for an organization’s page.
Millennials surveyed tended to “like” nonprofit organizations they had worked with or with whom friends had a relationship. They typically “liked” fan pages of sororities or fraternities, sports teams, college organizations and bands.
Researchers discovered successful use of social media goes beyond being “liked” because the demographics may be contrary to an organization’s strategy. Additionally, merely being ‘liked’ may overestimate an individual’s true affinity for the site.
“It’s not about the number of people that like your page, because they may not be the right people, and they may not really like you, they may just do it because of pressure from friends,” McCorkindale said.
“Instead of organizations trying to superficially push these relationships and superficially push ‘likes,’ they really need to understand the audience, build the relationship and engage the audience.
“If you are going to be out there in the social media sphere, you need to be listening, you have to answer the questions people ask of you through social media. If issues or questions go unanswered, that breaks the relationship,” she said. “If they can’t manage the space, they really shouldn’t be using the space.”
Source: Appalachian State University