Brands that market their products using Facebook may have a distinct advantage over their competitors: 41% of Facebook users say the primary reason they join a fan page is to let friends know what products they support, and 68% say a positive referral from a Facebook friend makes them more likely to buy a specific product or visit a certain retailer, according to a survey from Michigan-based market research and consulting firm Morpace.

Some 37% of Facebook users cite coupons and discount offers as among the primary reasons they join a fan page, but many join to otherwise engage with a brand: 35% say they want to stay current on new products and 31% want to learn more about the company itself.

"The results show us that Facebook is a tool for retailers to directly communicate with their target market," said Kirsten Denyes, vice-president, retail, for Morpace. "Retailers can offer consumers product information and exclusive coupons and discounts to create viral product buzz among Facebook consumers."

Below, other findings from the Morpace Omnibus Report on Facebook.

When logged into their Facebook account, consumers say they talk about a range of products and services with their friends, including food, restaurant, and grocery stores (38%), technology products (26%), sporting, outdoor, and athletic gear (15%), and children's toys and games (12%).

Broad Consumer Reach

Facebook appeals to a wide variety of people across demographics: 83% of consumers age 18-34 have a Facebook account, as do 61% of those age 35-54 and 48% of those age 55+.

Nearly one-half of consumers surveyed (44%) spend over 15 minutes on Facebook each time they visit:

Over one-half of consumers with a Facebook account (55%) say they visit the site at least once a day, while 33% visit multiple times per day.

More than one-third of consumers (36%) say Facebook is a good tool for researching products; 38% percent of males and 34% of females say so.

Looking for real-world examples of businesses achieving their social media marketing goals? Our 47-page case-study collection, Facebook Success Stories, shows you how to increase brand awareness, target specific markets, promote new products, and create communities that engage users. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.

Non-Caucasian Consumers More Active

Hispanics (62%) are more likely than Caucasians (48%) to become a fan of a restaurant pageā€”and are nearly twice as likely to become a fan of a clothing, shoes, and accessories page: 49% vs. 26%.

In addition, 29% of Hispanics, 27% of Asians, and 24% of African-Americans say they are members of computer fan pages, compared with just 16% of Caucasians.

Non-Caucasian consumers tend to be more active users of Facebook:

  • 50% of Hispanics say Facebook is a useful tool for researching new products, as do 46% of Asians and 44% of African-Americans. Only 31% of Caucasians say the same.
  • 51% of Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans say they spend more than 15 minutes per visit on Facebook.
  • African-American and Hispanic consumers join on average 10 fan pages.
  • Roughly three in four African-American, Hispanic, and Asian consumers say Facebook friends influence their purchase decisions.

About the data: Morpace Inc., as part of its monthly Omnibus Report, surveyed 1,000 adult consumers via online panel from March 10 to 17, 2010.  

Sign up for free to read the full article. Enter your email address to keep reading ...