A new infographic was published this past week by Get Satisfaction and Column Five Media around why people choose to follow brands on social networks. It confirmed much of what we already know about Facebook and Twitter's power, but it also led to some new insights around marketing online through social channels.
Here are some key takeaways I think are especially important for marketers...
Social Media Users Are Seeking Offers
While all these statistics are interesting on their own, it's the combination of the data from "what are the top reasons people follow brands" and "getting active with brands" that should really resonate with marketers:
- 36.9% of Facebook users and 43.5% of Twitter users said they connect with brands using social media to stay in the loop on special offers.
- A whopping 70% said they had used social media to participate in a contest or sweepstakes.
Marketing Takeaway: This means that social media users are looking for deals and will likely register for contests (or other things) in order to do so. Make sure that whatever offers you are making on your website, whether they are product giveaways for B2C companies or research reports or webinars for B2B companies, they are also promoted regularly via social media with links back to landing pages on your site. And don't underestimate a "follower's fury" -- the notion that they will get bored and unfollow you if you keep reusing the same content over and over again. Be creative with offers, and create new ones often.
Online Experiences Influence Purchasing Decisions
Every piece of social media research and infographic we've seen has, in one way or another, reinforced the notion that interacting and engaging with folks on social media bolsters your brand's image and fosters meaningful relationships with consumers. This most recent set of data is no exception.
97% percent of respondents said that an online experience has, for better or for worse, in one way or another, influenced his/her decision of whether or not to buy a certain brand or service.
Marketing Takeaway: Give yourself the chance to make that statistic matter for you in a positive way by allocating appropriate resources for social media within your company. Doing so will allow you to be timely in responding to mentions on Twitter or questions posted on your Facebook wall, as well as in crafting the regular, thoughtful updates that allow users to make a mental touch-point with your brand on a daily basis.
Social Media Users Have Strong Motives
This infographic shows us people follow brands on social media sites for specific reasons, and based on the data above, we can be certain that they all intend to do something with the knowledge they're accumulating. They use Facebook and Twitter to learn more about a company and its products, and then they apply what they've learned to either their purchasing decisions or the purchasing decisions of others by making recommendations.
Marketing Takeaway: Use this fact as a filter for what you share. Put yourself in your customers' shoes and ask yourself, "Where would the information I am about to share fit in the buying process? The very top, or near the bottom?" Based on that estimation, is this contest link or blog post summary as strong as it can be? Make your updates and content as effective as possible. Measure what works, and create guidelines or a framework for your social media team that outlines what type of content gets the most return.