The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online

Last week I talked about a study by Boston-based Cone that shows how scarce and precious brand loyalty on social media really is. Cone found that people on average only followed 4.6 brands on so-called “new media” and, more importantly, that it’s not easy to get a loyal “follower” or “fan”, and certainly to keep him.

The survey clearly showed how today’s consumer is really an omnichannel consumer and that people use a mix of media to interact and connect – directly or indirectly – with businesses.

These findings are not shocking. Anyone with some common sense knows this and, let’s face it, the focus on social media and thus channels is a very limited and blinding one that overemphasizes the “carrier” and underestimates the content (the story or message) but most of all the consumer (the communicator).

One of the most interesting findings of the survey, however, is that the reasons why people consider following brands in the initial phase of building a “connection” over these so-called “new media” and specifically social media, are very down-to-earth and have little to do with emotional connections, sharing, etc.

Offers, discounts and promotions beat love

By far the most important reason to start following a brand, Cone found, with a whopping 77% of respondents, were…incentives. Indeed: discounts, freebies and promotions.

Obviously, once the “connection” is established, other reasons keep people engaged as well and incentives are not the only reasons why people “follow” brands (you find the data in my previous post here) but it surely shows that “a good deal” and thus promotions are still doing very well, thank you.

One always needs to be careful with surveys but this finding is confirmed by other companies. In its ‘brand interaction study’, US-based digital agency Beyond found that the top reason why people “would possibly follow a brand in social media” is “to find offers and discounts”.

However, this only goes for 42% of UK and US respondents. That’s quite a difference with Cone’s 77% and it’s not the only difference. The Cone survey found that being helped and customer service rank second to promotions as reasons to follow, while Beyond found it’s “love of the product”. However, note that Cone also looked at other “new media” such as mobile channels and online games.

Surveys use different methodologies, have other scopes and often show different results but one thing is clear: discounts and promotions seem to rule in getting consumers connected to brands.

Cone survey shows omnichannel consumer with scarce fan loyalty and seeking promotions

The reasons? Maybe brands don’t provide enough value. Maybe people are not that “social”? Or maybe we don’t see that social media are in fact regarded by consumers as very personal and less “open” and “connected”. Here are some other numbers to chew on: people mostly share news about a family member or friends (81%), 54% share coupons and discounts, that’s even slightly more than the percentage of people sharing news and blog posts.

Join us on June 10th in Antwerp, Belgium, for the Content Marketing Conference Europe. With confirmed speakers such as Jay Baer, Lee Odden, Mike Corak, Doug Kessler, Kelly Hungerford, Dado Van Peteghem, Tristan Lavender, Guido Everaert, Tom De Baere and Xaviera Ringeling (more to be announced), we'll take you across a learning experience leading to tangible insights and actionable inspiration, moderated by media expert Jo Caudron!


Content Marketing Conference Europe
  • http://twitter.com/conversionation/status/7116548950982657 J-P De Clerck

    The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/socialemail/status/7117816360607744 Social Email

    The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online by @conversionation http://su.pr/2nMQik

  • http://twitter.com/erwinjansen/status/7117994450751489 erwinjansen

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  • http://twitter.com/360bizmarket/status/7117992852717569 360bizmarketing

    RT@socialemail The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online by @conversionation http://su.pr/2nMQik

  • http://twitter.com/marketingtwitz/status/7117995671298048 Renilde De Wit

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  • http://twitter.com/smarketingforum/status/7117997177049088 SocialMarketingForum

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  • http://twitter.com/smcbrussels/status/7117999282593793 SMCBrussels

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  • http://twitter.com/mrschinke/status/7119518417555456 Aaron Schinke

    Is #Sales #Promotion the best way for #Business es to use #twitter? http://bit.ly/i3BSS5 #HashtagMania!

  • http://twitter.com/conversionforum/status/7121864220483584 Conversion Forum

    Offers, discounts and promotions beat brand love on social media #socialmedia #smm http://ow.ly/3enyR

  • http://twitter.com/amandaeyer/status/7125218954846210 Amanda Eyer

    RT @conversionforum: Offers, discounts and promotions beat brand love on social media #socialmedia #smm http://ow.ly/3enyR

  • http://twitter.com/convert247/status/7129400193585153 Convert247

    RT @conversionation: The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/soleysomma/status/7129474093023232 Soley Somma

    RT @conversionation: The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/socialmediainf/status/7141546583392256 Tony Karrer

    The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://bit.ly/hGMhe7 http://bit.ly/aDy0Yz

  • http://twitter.com/smalapple/status/7162241614880768 nathalie thijssens
  • http://twitter.com/lexstok/status/7167321281925120 Alex Boschmans

    You can guess why… RT @SMCBrussels The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://ow.ly/3emUx

  • http://twitter.com/conversionation/status/7332841960509440 J-P De Clerck

    The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands on Social Media #socialmedia #smm http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/martinkloos/status/7333171972546560 Martin Kloos

    Jammer, maar helaas: Offers, discounts and promotions beat love http://bit.ly/fVkbll

  • http://twitter.com/josegfernandez/status/7337855198175232 José Fernandez

    RT @conversionation: The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online… Yes, it's all about money… http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/samuelvandeth/status/7344014894309376 Samuel van Deth

    Leuker, maar wel moeilijker! RT @martinkloos Jammer, maar helaas: Offers, discounts and promotions beat love http://bit.ly/fVkbll

  • http://twitter.com/boneadvertising/status/7346154895310849 bone advertising

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  • http://twitter.com/semilo/status/7355880639041536 Semilo

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  • http://twitter.com/wout1982/status/7357251102703616 Wouter Houtman

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  • http://twitter.com/philipgre/status/7359094226690048 Philip Greenfield

    The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://bit.ly/gCfsFU

  • http://twitter.com/wundermanbe/status/7380442835591168 Wunderman Belgium

    Why do people follow brands online? [Good Deals | Love of the Product |Service] http://bit.ly/hqCuuZ #thatsright @smarketingforum

  • http://twitter.com/dinosaurkoen/status/7387563652288512 Koen Demaré

    RT @PhilipGre: The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://bit.ly/gCfsFU

  • http://twitter.com/ericsalama/status/7416029814718464 eric salama

    thanks philip greenfield for pointing me to this on why people follow brand in social media http://bit.ly/i3BSS5 #kantar

  • http://twitter.com/cpownall/status/7417270699560960 Charlie Pownall

    RT @ericsalama: thanks philip greenfield for pointing me to this on why people follow brand in social media http://bit.ly/i3BSS5 #kantar

  • http://twitter.com/debmattinson/status/7419172229222401 Deborah Mattinson
  • http://twitter.com/omriduek/status/7424667417583616 Omri Duek

    @ericsalama …or does the research reflect that mktg hasn't "found the value" beyond discounts yet? http://bit.ly/i3BSS5 #kantar

  • http://twitter.com/irisxa/status/7430584808767488 Iryna Gordeyeva

    The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online – discounts http://bit.ly/iiscld Not loyalty, really? sad

  • http://twitter.com/mediations/status/7439440876142594 Philip Young

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  • http://twitter.com/raltenburg/status/7457612756942848 Riccardo Altenburg

    RT @ericsalama: thanks philip greenfield for pointing me to this on why people follow brand in social media http://bit.ly/i3BSS5 #kantar

  • http://twitter.com/socialemail/status/7466015650750465 Social Email

    Offers, discounts and promotions beat love in consumer brand engagement on #socialmedia! http://su.pr/2nMQik

  • http://twitter.com/provapr/status/7467313154494465 ProvaPR

    According to Cone, the main reason why people follow brands online is for the incentives! http://bit.ly/i3BSS5

  • http://twitter.com/abpolspoel/status/7477548917202946 ab

    RT @josegfernandez: @conversionation: The Single Main Reason y ppl srt Following Brands Online… it's all abt $$… http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/cherbison/status/7564545094582272 craig herbison

    RT @conversionation: The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/mariothefox/status/7858600479293440 Mario De Vos

    RT @smarketingforum: The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/samooss/status/8074070935470080 samuel kerboeuf

    RT @conversionation: The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands on Social Media #socialmedia #smm http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/socialemail/status/8188597224087552 Social Email

    By far the most important reason to start following a brand (77% of respondents) are…incentives. http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/marketingtwitz/status/8991586260099072 Renilde De Wit

    RT @Lexstok: You can guess why… RT @SMCBrussels The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://ow.ly/3emUx

  • http://twitter.com/smarketingforum/status/8991589808476160 SocialMarketingForum

    RT @Lexstok: You can guess why… RT @SMCBrussels The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://ow.ly/3emUx

  • http://twitter.com/mrschinke/status/8993975427928064 Aaron Schinke

    Is brand loyalty a thing of the past? I don't think so. But…http://bit.ly/i3BSS5 #sm #marketing

  • http://twitter.com/sdebakker/status/8994255565488128 Suzanne de Bakker

    RT @Lexstok: You can guess why… RT @SMCBrussels The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://ow.ly/3emUx

  • http://twitter.com/erwinjansen/status/9002192300146688 erwinjansen

    The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/erwinjansen/status/9002192300146688 erwinjansen

    The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://bit.ly/iiscld

  • http://twitter.com/somlerk/status/9033100327653376 Somlerk Ch.

    RT @SMCBrussels The Single Main Reason Why People Start Following Brands Online http://ow.ly/3emUx #mkt