You read that title right. Of the millions and millions of users on Facebook, a new study by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute found that almost 99% of Facebook fans do not engage with the brands they follow. The study recently published by AdAge selected the top 200 Facebook brands to track over the course of six weeks and studied how many likes, shares, comments, tags and posts occurred for each. The result was that only 1.3% of fans actively engage. That number drops even further to only .45% when you remove the new 'likes' from fans.
At first glance, this number might catch you a bit off guard; but is this really that much of a surprise? If you think about it, once you 'like' a local business page, how often do you actively engage with that business via Facebook? Probably not that often unless you're helping them do some marketing.
At the same time, how often do you see your favorite business's info, posts, comments, likes, etc. when you log on to Facebook? And how often are you reminded of specials and promotions from that business that make you act by purchasing or contacting them, or maybe even refer them to a friend? Probably a lot more often than you 'actively' engage.
So what does this mean for a local business?
It shouldn't change a thing about the emphasis on how important Facebook and other forms of social media are for your local business. It's still important for local businesses to have a presence on Facebook to build their brand, attract more leads and paying customers, and to help with search engine optimization; just to name a few of the benefits of Facebook. Facebook is a global database of consumers at your fingertips. And when optimized correctly, Facebook can help boost your search engine rankings both internal to the Facebook search engine, and external to search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. In addition, Facebook is a great way to interact and engage with industry peers and experts to help build your own industry expert status and credibility.
And to reiterate what I said earlier in this post, when it comes to engaging with consumers, even if your target audience isn't actively engaging back, it doesn't mean you're not being seen and gaining business. It's important that a local business is constantly engaging with their target audience by consistently posting updates, links to blogs and newsworthy information, promotions, and likes in addition to responding to comments both on their Facebook wall in addition to comments on their fans or other industry experts' walls.
So when you're looking at your Return on Investment when it comes to the resources you invest in Facebook and other social media platforms, keep in mind that if you're just going by the amount of interaction you receive on your page, then you're missing a large part of the picture. You need to consider all of the benefits Facebook and social media bring to your local business for a true evaluation of Return on Investment.