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Social media has become an everyday staple in consumers’ lives, with 71% using social more in 2021 than ever before. The events of the past two years were a major influence on the upsurge. With social distancing and increasing remote work, consumers relied heavily on social channels to converse, engage and transact.

Consumers now buy directly from social media networks

Social media is nearly as common as TV or radio ads and word-of-mouth for learning about brands. One in three consumers says it would be their preferred way to learn about brands going forward. But increasingly, social is where consumers go to both discover and buy from brands.

Consumers are heavily influenced by social media reviews

Social media is a living document for social proof—which is increasingly a make-or-break factor for buying decisions. More than half (51%) of consumers read reviews on forums or social media to evaluate a product or service before purchasing. All it takes is one or two dissatisfied reviewers to drive away a potential customer..

Consumers expect two-way engagement with brands

Social media has added another dimension to the company-customer relationship. A brand is no longer a remote, faceless entity that we only learn about in publications or Google searches. Looking at a brand’s network helps you gauge their values, relevant news and offerings, and how they relate to their audience.

Consumers turn to social media for customer service

Before social media, how would you expect to interact with a brand’s customer service department? Call them, e-mail them, visit in person and wait in a long line to talk to them, etc. Now, social is consumers’ preferred choice for sharing feedback or reaching out with a customer support issue or question.

The days of long telephone hold times punctuated by bad elevator music are dwindling. Consumers with a product question or order issue are much more inclined to reach out via a brand’s Facebook page, Twitter mention or Instagram DM. But social moves fast, which means customers expect faster answers. When reaching out to a brand on social, more than 75% expect a response within 24 hours.

Social media and consumer behavior: An ongoing transformation

Social media leveled the playing field between buyers and brands. Consumers can learn about and engage with brands much more quickly and easily, and vice versa. Brands can listen to what matters to their audience at the most individual level and help solve problems faster.

Full article can be found here.

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