Consumers Follow Social Brand Referrals

Not only are social fans more likely to buy and recommend brands, but their friends are also listening.

More than two-thirds of US Facebook users said a Facebook friend referral would increase their chances of purchasing a product or visiting a retailer, according to research and consulting firm Morpace.

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Fan pages, used by 41% of respondents to show their friends what products they support, are one way to spur such positive referrals. In line with other researchers, Morpace found that coupons and discounts were also key reasons to join a fan page, cited by 37% of Facebook users. On average, users were fans of nine pages.

The racial and ethnic background of users influenced their fan page activity. White Facebook users were generally least likely to become a fan of brands and retailers.

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Hispanics in the US had the greatest propensity to become fans in all the categories studied by Morpace. One-half of Hispanic respondents said Facebook was a good tool for researching new products, compared with 46% of Asians, 44% of African-Americans and only 31% of whites.

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