Firestarters on Facebook

Posted by Brian Cavoli on July 13th, 2011 in

If you are looking to get people talking about you on Facebook, a new study from Pew Internet provides some interesting details about the people who call Facebook their home every day.  The report, “Social Networking Sites and Our Lives”, makes as strong a case as you can find for connecting with customers on Facebook to build your brand, but only if you are working with the right people.

Here are three takeaways from the study:

Facebook Makes Us More Social

There is a widespread belief that social media use is making us a bunch of hermits.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth. According to Pew, Facebook doesn’t undermine intimacy, it supports it.  Facebook users have an average of 9% more close personal ties than other people and they rely on the site to maintain close contact with them.  40% of Facebook users have friended all of their closest confidants on Facebook – which is up from 29% just 2 years ago.

Facebook Builds Trust

Pew’s research finds that Internet users as a whole are more trusting of other people than the typical person. Facebook users have even more faith in each other.  A person using Facebook each day is 43% more likely that other internet users to feel that people can be trusted. We’ve always knows that Facebook users turn to each other often for assistance, emotional support and companionship.  But did you realize that it compares to almost as much support as you’d get from your spouse?  Pew estimates that Facebook users get a boost of support equivalent to half of what you get from being married.

Facebook Builds Conversation

People love to communicate with each other on Facebook, but they are much more likely to comment on another user’s status than to update their own.  The study finds that only 15% of Facebook users update their status every day.  But half of them (53%) add comments to other people’s posts a couple times a week. The same is true for photos. 49% comment on photos other people’s photos at least 1-2 times per week.  Commenting on posts and photos is heavily slanted towards the female persuasion. 25% of female Facebook users comment daily, compared to 17% of males.

What it Means for Marketers

The lesson to marketers is clear. Facebook is a great place to focus your marketing – users have bigger social circles and they surround themselves with people they trust. But if you want word about your products to spread across Facebook, you have to find the firestarters.  Those who’ve earned a following and the propensity to post content people respond to.   The typical user is not likely to start a conversation, but they’ll join in with enthusiasm if their friends are talking about something interesting.

Brand advocates are those firestarters. They use these tools with a purpose – to share their expertise to help others. They work hard building a network and providing meaningful contributions that get people talking.

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3 Responses to “Firestarters on Facebook”

  1. Cheryl Woodward says:

    I can’t agree with this study more! I am one of those that only post something into my status that I feel is worthy of posting…. Most of the same group of followers that I have gained through the years at FB…. comment religiously… some read what I have to say and may bring it up in conversation at a local gathering later in the week or when they bump into me at the local store~ It is pretty evident that most trust my word because I am not all “fluff” and tell the truth.
    I’m about to activate my twitter account and my blog to catch those who use those social networking sites…
    Who ever thought that being a BzzAgent would be so rewarding and satisfy my need for social interaction…. I love being a BzzAgent even though I’ve only been at this for a little over 7 months… but I do have goals and aspirations and it sure is a way in which I can stay connected to people which is important to me as I am a Disabled Female War Vet~ It gives me a sense of purpose. :)

  2. Kim Griggs says:

    Seriously, what a great study. Thank you for posting this. So, so true.

  3. Shasta Taylor says:

    I for sure agree!!! Facebook is a huge part of my life, I have the app on my blackberry and I am always posting about things I think are important. I always get alot of feedback!!

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