Facebook Fans: Understanding the motivations and aspirations driving brand followers

Jason Mander

Social society

Much ink has been spilt over "fans" who follow brands on social networking sites; about as often as we hear about the imminent "death" of Facebook, we're invited to question the authenticity of "likes" or quantify the ultimate financial value that they bring to a company. And just as one brand announces that it will be devoting a much greater spend to social campaigns, another will report a rapid retreat following what it deems to be a lacklustre ROI.

Clearly, it is absolutely right to query the long-term sustainability of many current forms of brand-consumer interaction, especially as networkers get ever savvier in how they manage their digital footprints. Right now, though, the short-term opportunities aren't going anywhere and so understanding the characteristics and behaviours of Facebook followers remains of obvious importance. All too often we see fans being treated as one, homogenous mass of people after nothing more than a quick discount; the Future Foundation's latest research reveals a much more nuanced picture where a complex range of aspirations and motivations are at work.