Social media clearly drives your brand’s messaging and amps up your visibility, but what posting frequency and content types resonate the most with your audience? New research from digital marketing firm Boston Digital found that consumers are drawn to—and will purchase from—brands that entertain and inform them via social media.
The firm’s new ebook, How Brands’ Social Media Impacts Consumers, also shows that 65 percent of respondents are more likely to buy from brands they follow—and that irrelevant, boring or overwhelming amounts of social content will push followers away.
“Many brands that use social media treat it like a corporate billboard instead of the informed, two-way street it needs to be. They talk at, instead of with, their audiences, and overwhelm them with promotional information,” said Peter Prodromou, president of Boston Digital, in a news release.
“As the survey implies, in order for social media to dramatically impact consumer loyalty and purchasing, companies must connect with target consumers on a personal level, understand what drives their behavior, and be strategic about how they interact,” Prodromou added. “They must deliver a great, high-value customer experience. Otherwise, consumers will unfollow and brands will leave money on the table.”
Key learnings from the survey, which was conducted with more than 500 consumers, include:
1. Social media done right boosts consumer purchasing
Two-thirds (65 percent) of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company they’ve followed for more than a month, while 54 percent are very likely or extremely likely to look at a company’s social presence while researching a product.
2. Build purchasing incentives into social strategies
Promotions (51 percent), exclusive deals (49 percent), and informational content (47 percent) posted on social media make consumers more likely to purchase.
3. Hook followers by being entertaining and informative
The top reason consumers follow a brand on social media is for helpful information related to a hobby (26 percent), followed closely by product information (25 percent) and funny or interesting content (21 percent).
4. Retain followers by understanding them
Half (51 percent) will unfollow a brand if its social media content isn’t relevant to them personally—and 34 percent will walk away if content is boring.
5. Don’t overwhelm consumers
Nearly a third (31 percent) will unfollow if a company posts too much content.
6. Perceptions count
Thirty-eight percent of consumers will unfollow a company if they don’t agree with its values.
7. Treat social media as a two-way customer service channel
Consumers rely on social for customer service—59 percent use it to reach out when they have questions about a product or service, as do 52 percent when they have problems with it. A surprisingly high number of respondents—42 percent—contact companies via social to provide positive feedback about their offerings. These consumers want to make a human connection with companies. In addition, 61 percent say it is very or extremely important to get a response from a brand after providing feedback on social media.
This survey is the first in a series of Boston Digital studies focused on digital marketing practices, trends, and impacts.