As brands become more familiar with and reliant on social media as a key marketing channel, a detailed understanding of how social media is used by customers becomes more important. The above graphic (click on it for a larger view) from customer community site Get Satisfaction shows what makes people want to follow a brand on social media channels.
Reading the graphic quickly shows that between 23% and 33% people who are your customer in the physical world will follow you online. That is a lot of people. Those looking for special offers and deals is a big percentage as expected in the Groupon era (which is good for customers but not always brands as discount buyers tend to follow the discounts and not the brands).
Of importance is that around 20% of followers value interesting or entertaining content, which explains why those brands which post an avalanche of uninteresting content battle to keep loyal followers willing to engage online.