05 November 2016

DIGITAL - More Consumers Using Social Media to Connect With Businesses

One is hard-pressed to make the argument that social media doesn’t matter.

There are few business models left that can’t benefit from some social media exposure, marketing or advertising.

According to studies conducted by Forrester research, adult savviness with respect to social media is on the rise – up three per cent from 37 to 40 per cent.

Other key findings made by the research firm include the discovery that 31 per cent of consumers are in constant use of social media to connect with businesses, a four per cent increase from 2015.

Sixty-nine percent of these consumers buy online and on mobile.

According to Hootsuite, a popular social media marketing and management dashboard, one of the greatest advantages to businesses is building brand/product loyalty:

“A study by The Social Habit shows that 53 per cent of Americans who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands.”

For the less technologically-savvy social media user, dashboards such as Hootsuite can alleviate overwhelming decisions of what platforms to use and when, as the ‘one stop shop’ allows users to post using one system to a number of platforms at the same time.

The optimization tools also allow its users to schedule posts ahead of time, therefore optimizing traffic flow and resulting in more targeted leads.

Built-in analytics allow for better tracking to ensure your audience is achieving best results though interacting through your website/social media platforms.

Networking, piggyback advertising and creating repeat business lies in the sharing of content, frequency of use and paying it forward (sharing posts from other industry members, colleagues); this big picture approach has longer-term benefits and helps establish better branding.

Market research indicates more investment into the social media marketplace in the future.

According to Entrepreneur.com: “recent research from Econsultancy shows that 71 percent of brands plan to invest more heavily in social media in the coming year to reach new followers and build brand reputation.”

The blog continues on to rank their top picks for platforms, as they relate to promoting brand awareness, with Facebook leading the pack and appealing to the broadest spectrum of users.

Instagram is ideal for image-based branding – clothing retailers or foodies; Google+ is shaping up to be a good tool for connecting with men in the technology sector (research indicates that two-thirds of its users are men in this industry); Pinterest, much like Instagram, notes higher success rates for women-dominated industries such as clothing and jewelry; and LinkedIn is a strong platform for business-to-business corporate users.

Keep it visual. According to Entrepreneur.com: “Articles with images receive 94 per cent more views. Twitter content with images receives nearly twice as many views as text posts, even though there are seven times more text posts on Twitter.”

Above all, the leverage for business owners in using social media platforms is about creating a level of interaction between their business and users – publishing engaging content, offering freebies, or discounts that entice users to ‘like’ the business page, posting strong visuals – these are all potentially lucrative methods to increase online presence and ensure your business is current.

By Lindsay Seewalt
Lindsay is an experienced journalist and mother of three whose heart and home is always open to a four-legged friend. With her Corgi, Angie, as household editor-in-chief, Lindsay gives back to the animal planet through the written word on anything and all ado about pets. She is passionate about topics regarding animal welfare and responsible pet ownership, which she aims to instill in both her readers and children to be compassionate animal lovers who are conscious and considerate that furry friends around the globe deserve a voice.

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