Report: Customers Still Prefer Company Websites to Facebook

A new report says that companies may be wasting the money they're pouring into their Facebook pages.
July 27, 2012

Are you neglecting your company website in favor of your Facebook page? Or have you decided that because you have a Facebook page, you don’t need a stand-alone web site?

A new report suggests that the some $3 million U.S. marketers have poured into Facebook brand pages (this according to the unofficial Facebook blog AllFacebook.com) may not be paying off. Or at least, not paying off yet.

Consumers still visit companies’ websites more often than their Facebook pages, says a report released Thursday from social marketing firm Get Satisfaction and analyst Incyte Group. Nearly 90 percent of the some 2,000 people surveyed said the company’s website—not a social network—is their preferred place to research products and hunt for information they’ll use to make buying decisions. They said they go straight to a company’s website (as opposed to looking first on a social network).

Those surveyed also said they wanted to be introduced to brands through friends (64.5 percent), not through ads (38.2 percent). When people log onto social networks such as Facebook, 70 percent said they did so for social networking. Just 13 percent said they check in to interact with brands.

“It’s clear that companies aren’t getting the results they need from investing in social media. Consumers don’t just want to be broadcasted to,” says Get Satisfaction CEO Wendy Lea.

Observed the report: “When customers look to part with their hard earned cash, they want to do so with brands they know and trust, not companies that repeatedly spam them on Facebook or Twitter.”

Why and when do customers turn to company Facebook pages? There isn’t a clear consensus, but the top cited reason (32.1 percent) was to get information quickly. The second biggest reason: To get answers from fellow consumers (21.3 percent). Once on a Facebook page or other “branded communities,” customers read content (32.5 percent), share content (19.5 percent) and learn from others (18.1 percent).

Facebook, for the record, is still the main way people share content, according to this survey. More than a third (35.1 percent) used their Facebook news feed to share content and 21.3 percent shared via likes. Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging were not used as often.

The report also examined the use of influencers—targeting consumers with lots of online influence and offering them goodies in exchange for their endorsements on social media. The good news: You don’t need to bother trying to buy (or rent) these types of people. Your existing customers will do a better job, suggests the report. More than 80 percent (82.6) of customers said they would act as brand advocates on social media, and 50 percent of them would do so without any incentive.

What do customers use your Facebook page for? Does the report reflect your experience?

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