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Millennials May 'Like' Your Brand But They Aren't Necessarily Getting Engaged to It

by Guest Blogger  |  
June 19, 2012

All businesses love to boast about how many "likes" they have on Facebook. For example, Arby's—the fast food chain known for its roast beef sandwich and curly fries—recently celebrated its one million "likes" on Facebook. Arby's fans will even receive a free t-shirt in appreciation.

The number of "likes" for Arby's is impressive, especially considering new data shows that the switch to Facebook's Timeline has slightly slowed down the number of "likes" for big-name organizations. But while the figures give the chain restaurant some bragging rights, do all those "likes" mean that Arby's sales are booming?

Not necessarily.

new study shows that "likes" may not even mean anything at all in the offline world, especially with Millennials (people born in 1980 onward) who have more than $170 billion in annual purchasing power.

According to a team of researchers from Appalachian State University in North Carolina, marketers need to stop focusing on gathering "likes" and really start focusing on engaging and interacting with their fans. Just acquiring "likes" doesn’t do much.

For the study, more than 400 Millennials were asked about their interaction with Facebook Fan Pages. Though the study revealed that a whopping 75% of test subjects "liked" a business or organization at one point, 69% admitted that once "liked" they rarely or never returned to the Fan Page. "Millennials reported that not as much thought goes into liking as brands probably want," says lead researcher Tina McCorkindale on her blog. "Few actively sought organizations online to like."

Returning to a Fan Page played a much more important role if the test subject felt a closer connection to the organization or brand offline already, such as "liking" one's alma mater. But most surveyed Millenials said they weren't invested in most of the organizations or brands that they "liked." However, "liking" a page does give marketers the opportunity to appear on a user's Facebook feed. That's where businesses get a chance to say, "Hey! Remember me? Come check out my Page."

Calling attention to yourself is tricky, though. You have to seize the opportunity correctly. How to go about this? It's up to you and your marketing team to come up with a plausible strategy. The study does give some insight to what not to do. For example, the study revealed that if a brand or organization got "too annoying"---meaning excessive updates or bombarding with too many "coupons" or even mostly just sold products---a user was more likely to leave or "unlike" a Fan Page. But offering incentives ever so often, such as contests with award prizes, were favored.

Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses. You can contact her at

Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Facebook Like Dislike)

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