The Ripple Effect of Following a Brand on Social Media

A study from Ipsos OTX and Ipsos Global @dvisor asked internet users worldwide about their presumed action when they saw that a friend “liked” or followed a certain brand on a social network such as Facebook or Twitter. In March 2012, 22% of internet users worldwide said they would buy such a brand. But in the US, that number dropped a bit, to 18% of all US internet users.

While that is a relatively small percentage, younger consumers were more likely to buy because of a “like.” Ipsos found that 23% of US internet users under the age of 35 said they would buy a brand because of a friend’s social endorsement, and nearly as many internet users between the ages 35 and 49 would do so. Females and males were about even by this metric, at 18% vs. 17%.

As social media gives average consumers a larger reach, the impact of “liking” a brand is growing and becoming more significant for companies. Many companies must cater to their fans on social media as a way to cultivate brand advocates who can support and recommend the brand, and its products and services.

A May 2012 study from internet advertising network Burst Media about web users’ preferences and habits found many reasons why US internet users really followed brands on social media. Keeping up with the latest content was the most popular reason, cited by 43.5% of moms, 44.4% of other women and 30.7% of males.

As consumers continue to interact with brands on social media, and as social media’s influence grows, a “like” or follow can influence the purchase decisions of fellow networkers, even if the reason a brand garnered that “like” wasn’t necessarily to provide an outright endorsement.


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