Social media users want deals

Engaging consumers in dialogue is the rationale for businesses using social media as a marketing channel. But for what purpose, exactly?

A widespread assumption is that a presence on sites like Twitter and Facebook boosts awareness and makes consumers feel good about a brand. But a new study suggests that consumers are looking for deals, pure and simple, rather than expressing a shared passion for a brand’s values.

The survey by Razorfish of 1000 internet-savvy consumers reveals that 44% of those who follow a brand on Twitter do so mainly for access to exclusive offers and discounts. The figure is 37% for social networking sites MySpace and Facebook.

Offers of coupons for free pastries and ice cream might explain why Starbucks, for instance, has collected nearly 5 million fans and established itself at the top of Facebook brand pages, the report’s authors argue. Another example they cite is Whole Foods, whose weekly specials and shopping tips have made it the top brand on Twitter, with more than 1.5 million followers.

There are quite a few useful facts and figures here, so it’s worth a look.

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