By Jan Zimmerman, Deborah Ng

People who like, or give a thumbs-up to, a brand on Facebook are more likely to buy from that brand. But they’re not liking you to buy from you. They’re liking you to find out more about you and to receive updates and news regarding products and services.

They might have had a positive experience with the brand and want to engage more. In any event, it’s important to know why people are so willing to like a business on a social network.

Everyone knows plenty of people who like brands on Facebook. Friends and family come to Facebook each day to enjoy the company of others, but not necessarily to engage in a lot of deep reading or thinking. So why are people following brands on Facebook? Here are a few reasons:

  • Seeking a discount: The majority of people liking your brand’s Facebook Page are hoping to receive some sort of benefit. This doesn’t mean you have to give discounts and freebies every day, but if people know at somepoint they’ll receive coupons, codes, or other perks, they’re more likely to sign up and remain active members of your Facebook community.

  • Looking for updates and news: Fans follow television shows, bands and musicians, and other forms of entertainment to learn about show times and dates, new releases, and more.

  • Interacting with like‐minded people: People enjoy following local ­businesses, news stations, politicians, movies, television shows, and other businesses on Facebook to talk about those things with other enthusiasts.

  • Because their friends are doing it: When someone likes, shares, or comments on a brand’s Facebook Page, many of that person’s friends will see that action. The power of suggestion can lead others to like a brand Page, if only because they know other friends are fans, as well.

  • Following a recommendation: When people feel good about a brand, they leave positive comments on their Timelines and tell their friends, hoping that the friends then enjoy the same positive experience. If their friends also enjoy the experience, those friends in turn invite their friends and family, and so on.

  • Expressing their loyalty: Customers who enjoy the brand offline often seek out the brand to enjoy online. In addition to receiving freebies or updates, they’re mostly interested in showing support to a name they believe in.

  • Wanting entertainment: If your content is stale with only the occasional business‐like updates, you’re not going to keep your Facebook fans. However, if your content is entertaining and fun, and keeps folks coming back to see what you’re going to talk about each day, your community will continue to grow.

  • Needing a question answered: Your community has many questions, but they may not want to call a customer service line and wait on hold. Being able to reach out via Facebook gives people a way to connect without having to invest a lot of time.

  • Giving feedback: Many people follow a brand on Facebook so they can leave feedback regarding a product, service, or experience.

Many people who like your Facebook Page won’t interact further on it. They’ll read your updates on their News Feeds and may even take advantage of discount codes or calls to action, but they won’t comment or communicate. That’s fine; marketing to the silent members of your community is still important.

If your brand’s Facebook Page is engaging and the person running it is funny, knowledgeable, and patient, your Facebook community will evolve into something wonderful. Some followers will comment on posts, others will vote in polls — and, yes, a number of folks will buy when you have sales or offer discounts.

Although this chapter explores all the ways a brand can benefit from using Facebook to reach its customers, remember that Facebook is continuously evolving and changing its algorithm. It’s not as easy for brands to reach their Facebook fans as it used to be, and social media marketers are encouraged to stay on top of Facebook updates and changes. If you don’t keep apprised of Facebook news, your brand can be penalized for not following specific rules or understanding how specific changes will reflect upon the brand’s Facebook Page.

Also, you may not receive as much traffic to your page if you don’t know how the latest algorithm works. This is why it’s important keep apprised of Facebook news and updates. Checking the Facebook section of Google News (under Technology) will alert you to any changes and recommendations for handling said changes.