Here’s a scenario for you to consider. Your brand’s Facebook page has thousands of  “likes.” You are seeing significantly lower numbers in sales though. So what exactly is your brand getting for those “likes” on Facebook? For many businesses, garnering “likes” has been a top marketing goal. However, a recent study conducted by Lab42 tackled this question by polling 1000 social media users, and the results may make businesses reconsider their strategies.

Out of the social media users Lab42 polled, 87% of them “like” a brand on Facebook. Those odds are favorable. But, this study goes further and delves into why each user is “liking” brands on Facebook. The answer may not be what marketers want to hear. Only 14% of users “liked” the brand page because they were loyal customers. More commonly (34% to be exact), users “liked” the page for promotions and discounts.

Unfortunately, the statistics only get less promising. 46% of users “liked” a brand with no intention of buying from them. So why “like” the brand at all? 52% of those users said they wanted a free item while 46% said they liked the brand but couldn’t afford it.

These numbers may seem bleak for marketers who are after those likes, but all is not lost. These numbers give us strategies on how to rethink the Facebook “like” in order to drive more business to our brands. For example, more giveaways and contests are a good start in getting consumers interested in your brand beyond just “liking” your page on Facebook.

Let’s keep in mind that this is just one survey and only begins to attempt to answer the question of how to best interact with consumers through social media. The practice is far from being perfected (if it ever is), but we think this survey provides some insights into how to get a little bit closer.