I Like You... Even Though You Don't Listen to Me

Facebook was once like a breath of fresh air because it was a space in which people could gather without intrusion from advertisers and others vying for our attention and dollars. Of course, that has changed as have our feelings about the co-mingling of social interactions and commerce. A study by market research company Lab42 found that 87% of Facebook users like brands - a statistic that hardly suggests anti-consumerism sentiments.

In fact, many Facebook users have positive attitudes toward businesses using Facebook for marketing purposes. Among the findings from the Lab42 study:
If you are a business owner or marketer, you have to love these numbers! It is evident that brands not only can co-exist with Facebook users, but they can be a "friend" in their own right by interacting with fans and building relationships. Or can they? The sobering news from the Lab42 study was that only 35% of the persons who said Facebook was a good place to interact with brands believe that brands actually listen to them.

The remedy to this problem is simple and difficult at the same time. The simple remedy is "listen!" It is our nature to desire to feel valued by others, and being ignored is a sure-fire way to feel devalued. Brands should not establish a presence on Facebook or any other social network site unless it is prepared to commit resources to listen. Therein lies the difficulty of solving this problem. Who is going to listen? How much will it cost? What resources will be committed? How will performance be measured? These questions can be stumbling blocks to making a commitment to true engagement via social media.

People who like brands on Facebook show the love (or at least the like); it is up to marketers to reciprocate. Begin by listening to the people who are talking to you and about you.

Center for Media Research - "Like It or Leave It"

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