Study explores fan/brand relationship on social media

Regular posts, trustworthy brand news, new product information, contests and special offers are the five basic expectations fans have of brands on social media, according to new research from Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic, in co-operation with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

While these are the five health checks identified in the Value of a Fan report, five characteristics that can help pages stand out and drive a stronger brand response but may not all be appropriate to all brands, are a sense of fun, variety, innovation, interactivity and community.

Value of a Fan suggests that successful pages deepen both brand equity and engagement. The research also notes that the pages generating the strongest brand response were not necessarily those with the largest number of fans.

The report also identifies the perceived value marketers get from social media. Of the participating WFA members, 85pc said they regard fan pages as a means of securing additional insight and increasing loyalty, while 80pc cited the opportunity to increase advocacy. Some 96pc said they are spending more in this area and 27pc are finding that running fan pages takes more time and money than anticipated.

Despite increased time and money being invested, 50pc of the marketers said they were unsure of their return on investment, 23pc thought they were getting a good return but 27pc regarded payback as just average or poor.

“Many marketers are asking the question ‘what is the value of a fan’? This project is a great first step towards creating a dashboard of learning to enable companies to answer that question for their own brands. We welcome further work in this area,” said Robert Dreblow, marketing communications director at the WFA.

“Fan expectation of brands in the social media space is increasing all the time and Value of a Fan seems to demonstrate that marketers only get out what they put in,” said Duncan Southgate, global innovation director at Millward Brown. “Marketers that don’t regularly add new and interesting content to their fan pages and embrace what their fans want from the page are missing out on an opportunity to build loyalty among some of their most important consumers.”

The Value of a Fan study based on interviews with 24 multinationals in WFA membership and online questionnaires with 3,687 of their fans. The fan pages selected included brands from the confectionery, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, personal care and telecommunications sectors. Although some pages were global, others were specifically targeted at consumers in Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, the UK or the US.