A new survey by The Manifest, explores how social media users from across the U.S. interact with brands on social media and how these interactions influence their buying decisions. The findings can help businesses understand how their social media interactions with consumers can boost brand awareness, build trust, and convert followers into loyal customers.
Here are some of the highlights:
Use Social Media to Connect with Consumers and Other Businesses
According to the survey report, the traditional communication barriers between people and brands no longer exist because of the internet, and social media offers a convenient avenue to get in touch with businesses.
For this reason, 74% of people follow brands on social media, and 96% of those who follow brands also interact with them on social media.
B2C (business-to-consumer): People can use social media to reach out to a brand with feedback, questions, and concerns and keep up with brands and new products or services.
B2B: (business-to-business) Businesses can use social media to show more dimensions of their brand.
Interact With People on Social Media to Establish Rapport
Consumers’ interactions with brands on social media add depth to business-consumer relationships and allow businesses to establish rapport and a sense of trust with consumers.
As a result of trust built through social media, 67% of people have made a purchase after seeing an advertisement on social media.
Social media allows consumers to glimpse unrevealed aspects of a business, such as its commitment to corporate social responsibility, work culture, and upcoming events, ultimately humanizing the brand.
Know That Men and Women May Be Drawn to Different Platforms, but Don’t Base Your Whole Strategy on Generalizations
Gender plays a role in people’s social media habits and, by extension, their buying decisions that stem from social media interactions.
While Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are more likely to influence females’ buying decisions, YouTube and Twitter are more likely to influence males’ decisions to make a purchase. These buying decisions always depend on the individuals, their social network preferences, and the types of products they are interested in buying.
Know What Ages Your Social Media Advertisements Will Influence the Most
Just as men and women have different social media habits and are drawn to different platforms, so too are different generations.
Millennials (ages 18-34) spend the most time on social media daily and access the most platforms weekly compared to Generation X (ages 35-54) and baby boomers (ages 55 and up). Therefore, it may not come as a surprise that social media holds more weight in millennials’ buying decisions.
Choose Your Social Media Platforms Carefully
Businesses should cater their social media content to their audience, as well as to the platforms people use.
Consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand they follow on Facebook (52%) than all other popular social media platforms combined. Although Facebook’s domination of the social media realm may be the cause of this trend, customers at different stages of the conversion funnel might gravitate toward different platforms.
Embrace Social Media as a Tool for Two-Way Communication
People interact with brands in a variety of ways. With most of these interactions, people expect a response, opening the opportunity for businesses to use social media as an extension of their customer service strategy.
People view online interactions as they do in-person ones and value brands that interact with them on social media. Businesses open a door to their brand and instill in customers a sense of trust when they interact with people on social media.
People Want to Buy from Brands They Follow on Social Media
Social media presents both B2C and B2B businesses with the opportunity to connect with customers, and these social media interactions establish a foundation of trust.
Businesses can connect with customers on social media in a variety of ways such as through targeted ads, influencers, or authentic, personalized interactions.
A business’ social media strategy is successful if the business knows who its target audience is: Elements such as gender and age can influence how the business approaches social media and the platforms it chooses to cultivate its brands’ presence.
*This study was conducted with 537 social media users in the U.S., of which 64% were female and 36% were male. About 42% of respondents are millennials (ages 18-34); 36% are Generation Xers (ages 35-54); and 22% are baby boomers and older (ages 55+).
This post was originally published on Social Media Today: “New Study Examines How Brand Engagement on Social Influences Purchase Behavior“