Facebook users who choose not to Like brand pages have many reasons, but a lack of quality content is at the top of the list.

It’s difficult for businesses of any size or industry to place a value on activity generated through their social media marketing campaigns. Exact Target attempted to provide some insight, though, as part of a recent study analyzing the motivation behind the Facebook Like.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents who Like a company do so “to gain access to exclusive content, event and sales.” This, however, does not mean that they want to be bombarded by what essentially amounts to spam. The company’s analysis of Facebook user activity found that 54 percent of users choose not to Like brands on the social network to avoid excessive ads or messages.

Social media marketing campaigns must focus on quality content, rather than raw quantity. Deciding which content is more likely to produce engagement and conversion can be a tricky task. However, Brafton recently reported that Facebook has attempted to make this easier with the addition of Facebook Insights. The service, available on all branded pages, provides social marketers with analytics regarding which posts generated the most Facebook-wide conversations, which profile tabs garner the most clicks and which links to the Facebook page, or links a company shares on Facebook resulted in the most page views.

Privacy is another reason consumers hesitate to Like a brand, Exact Target found. A disclaimer of sorts reporting that the business will not use fans’ information for profit can help assuage some concerns.

Nearly one-quarter of users report they don’t understand their own reasons for Liking a brand. Providing existing fans with valuable content and discounts can lead to word-of-mouth advertising and recommendations to other users.

The significance of the Facebook Like as signal of brand reputation will likely grow moving forward, as the network builds on its recently announced 800 million users. Brafton reported this week that Facebook is considered the No. 1 social media marketing platform by more than 90 percent of companies.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.