Too few companies are failing to exploit the true PR potential of their Facebook business presence by neglecting to follow up on people who click on the ‘Like’ button when visiting their branded pages on the social network.

Somehow, it would seem, many businesses still think that success in social media simply boils down to merely having a Facebook page and do not see the importance of regular engagement with visitors or any point to the ‘Like’ button beyond a simple numbers game.

And now new research into the behaviour of visitors that ‘Like’ a Facebook brand page has confirmed what many of us in public relations have long believed, which is that most Facebook pages are just not doing enough to encourage their followers to stick around.

The study, by US market research consultancy Rubinson Partners and Compete, analysed the Facebook activity of more than 60 brands over a four-month period and found that only one in every 20 visitors to a brand page actually bothered to return within 30 days of ‘Liking’ it.

From a PR perspective, there really isn’t much point to having a Facebook brand page if the people who are supposed to be the advocates of your brand hardly ever bother to visit it.

Successful public relations, whether online, on TV, on radio or in print, relies very much on building up brand awareness over a sustained period of time.

So if businesses are not prepared to make the commitment to building up a long-term relationship with their online following, they may find themselves scratching their heads and wondering what exactly it is that they are getting from their Facebook brand pages.

If you fail to follow up on the people who take the trouble to endorse your brand – by maintaining awareness through regular, interesting and informative updates and giving an incentive to return to your site – then you’ll quickly merge into the general background noise, with little or no chance of converting that initial interest into a sale.