June 17, 2010, 10:28 AM

Social network users call brands friends, too

40% of social network users connect with brands and products on those sites.

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  40% of social network users connect with brands and products on those online meeting places, a new report says. 

 The study of 3,000 U.S. social network users found, not too surprisingly, that 80% have an active Facebook account and 23% of those without active Facebook accounts plan to join the social network in the next month.

When it comes to the benefits to brands on social networks, the numbers are promising. 50% of Facebook users click on Facebook ads to officially “Like” a brand and become a fan of it. That’s good marketing for brands because when a user Likes a brand on Facebook it shows up on her profile for all her friends to see.

Additionally, 37% of respondents learned about a new product or service from a social networking site and 32% have recommended a product, service or brand to friends via a social networking site. For example, 32% percent of Twitter users re-tweet content provided by a company or product, the study says.

Nearly 90% of respondents say that at least some of the companies and/or products they’re Facebook fans of are doing a good job providing relevant content. More than a third said most or all of them were doing a good job.

When it comes to what consumers want from brands on Facebook, 49% wanted more printable coupons, 46% want notifications of sales and special deals and 35% information about new products.

While the survey digs into consumers’ behaviors on social networks, e-commerce technology providers are also bringing Facebook services to their own applications. For example, consumer- reviews technology vendor PowerReviews recently added the Facebook Like button to its social commerce product. This means shoppers viewing ratings and reviews in the PowerReviews application can press a Like button to show their affinity for a reviewed product in their Facebook profiles.  At the same time, shoppers can can see how many other shoppers Liked the product within the PowerReviews application.

Other companies capitalizing on the social craze are trying to bring shopping as close as they can to the networks. Vendor Alvenda enabled the first Facebook sale with an app developed last year for 1-800-Flowers.com, and other e-commerce software providers, including BigCommerce, ShopVisible and SortPrice, offer Facebook storefronts with their shopping cart software packages. A company called Payvment, which recently secured $1.5 million in funding, offers a free service to help companies sell through Facebook.




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