Here’s What Facebook’s Big Impact on Voter Turnout Teaches Us
It’s Facebook Friday — each week we’ll offer one tip for leveraging Facebook to increase customer awareness of and engagement with your brand or business. This week, we’ll look at a recent discovery about social media in the news and see what marketers can learn from it.
The benefit of social media for marketers is often that it facilitates friends recommending products, brands, or venues to each other. For many people, the message comes from a trusted source, not a marketer — even if the message originated with a marketer a couple steps back. That’s the power of virality for you.
If you want evidence of this, look at voter turnout. Researchers at the University of California in San Diego studied voter behavior in the 2010 elections, and found that people were much more likely to get out to vote if they saw Facebook updates signaling that their friends had voted.
In fact, this was a much better pusher of voting behavior than the “I Voted” stickers that were introduced several years back to help increase voter turnout and remind people to participate in democracy.
60,000 Facebook users chronicled in UCSD’s study voted after seeing an “I voted” update in their Facebook News Feed, but an additional 280,000 turned out if it was a close friend who posted the update. The principles behind this political phenomenon apply just as much to brand and business marketing.
Since Facebook has become the de facto personal social network of choice for most consumers in the United States, the company has gone to great lengths to make it easier for its users to share brand messages that they’re exposed to. Don’t forget that businesses are Facebook’s true customers, not personal users.
That said, it’s up to you the marketer or business owner to create the incentives.
Was this tip helpful? Do you have any more ideas for getting the most out of Facebook? Let us know in the comments!
[Image credit: Evan Hahn]