McCorkindale, Tina M.; DiStaso, Marcia W.; & Fussell Sisco, Hilary (2013). How Millennials are engaging and building relationships with organizations on Facebook. The Journal of Social Media in Society, 2(1), 67-87.
More than half of Facebook’s 900 million active users in the U.S. consist of the Millennial generation (ages 13 to 29). With more organizations taking advantage of the site’s reach, determining how organizations are interacting with Millennials on Facebook is important. This study used qualitative focus groups and a quantitative survey to examine how Millennials preferred to interact and engage with organizations on Facebook. Results found participants were not opposed to interacting with organizations on Facebook, but were very specific in terms of how, with who, and why they wanted to engage. While Millennials did want updates and other information depending on the type of organization or group, they also wanted discounts or other benefits. Millennials identified reasons why they would actively terminate the relationship with an organization.
Both qualitative and quantitative analyses were employed. First, a series of in-person focus groups of 30 Millennials and three online focus groups of 75 Millennials was conducted. Last, a total of 414 Millennials completed an online quantitative survey.
1) The majority of survey respondents (86%) checked Facebook every day with an average of 63 minutes spent on the site.
2) Both the focus groups and surveys revealed incentives, information, and organizational membership were important motivators for becoming fans or friends of an organization on Facebook.
3) Word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends influenced behaviors, such as supporting or liking a cause.
4) In the survey, the most frequently “liked” organizations included sororities and fraternities, nonprofits and sports teams rather than corporations.
5) The most frequently cited reasons why Millennials actively left an organization’s group or page was excessive notifications, disinterest in the group, or the user wanted to clean up their Facebook account.
Implications for Practice
The Millennial generation has grown up with technology and considers social media to be an integral part of their lives. Organizations need to be savvy with how they engage with Millennials on social networking sites, such as how often they post and the content. This relationship needs to be authentic and transparent, but also reciprocal, meaning there is a desire to engage on the part of the user. Therefore, organizations need to conduct research to determine the most appropriate method to engage and create dialogue with this important public.
The full article is available for free at: http://thejsms.org/index.php/TSMRI/article/view/15/18