Social Connections Paying off for Brands: Study

Posted on by Patricia Odell

All that hard work brand managers have been putting into social media appears to be paying off. Some 70% of consumers in a new study reported making a purchase as a result of participating with a brand socially.

However, not all the news was rosy. Another 22% of consumers said they did not see the value in staying connected, indicating that marketers still have plenty of work to do to keep fans and followers interested, according to the study from SocialVibe, conducted by GfK.

Some 19% of consumers make purchases “often” while 29% make purchases “sometimes” because of these social connections. Another 22% are a bit more tepid, having made a purchase once or twice because of a brand connection whether on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest or Google+.

The study also revealed that these brand connections can be very powerful with 61% of consumers first considering those brands when shopping.

Kraft Foods’ “Recipes and Tips” Facebook page is a good example of  providing fans with useful information (recipes), while at the same time showcasing products consumers need to make those meals. One, Salmon and White Bean Salad, calls for Kraft Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette. The site has close to 1 million fans.Kraft Foods also has a dedicated Pinterest profile to pin recipes that has more than 41,000 followers.

There are multiple reasons why consumers like to stay connected to a brand.

Some 20% in the study like to receive special offers, suggesting they would make a purchase with a coupon or other discount.

M&Ms World is running a promotion through an app on Facebook for fans to create an “M&M’s World” holiday e-card: those who do receive a coupon. Fans choose among six seasonal border designs featuring the famous M&M’S characters, upload their favorite family photo and then share their card with family and friends via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail, which hopefully inspires the recipients to go to the M&Ms Facebook page and do the same.

Another 16% of respondents reported wanting to keep up on the brand’s news and information.

Clorox has this down for its 690,000 fans with a “News and Offers” app on its Facebook page linking to items like signing up for the Clorox Newsletter, rating and reviewing products or downloading a “timesaving e-book.”

“This illustrates a consumer desire to deepen the brand experience and an important takeaway for brand loyalty operations,” the report said.

Also of note is that 23% of consumers check back weekly for updates with the brands they are connected to with another 17% monitoring the sites on a daily basis, suggesting that this group remains very loyal and is expecting—even anticipating—finding new content and offers.

“This is a powerful finding for brands looking to carry the experience forward,” the study said.

Once these connections are made they have to be carefully maintained because the study also found that 37% of consumers who build these online social connections also terminate them. One-third of respondents said they ended the relationship because they were inundated with updates.

“Brands need to be mindful that connections can be both powerful and disruptive to the social experience,” said Tiffany Leslie, director of marketing communications for SocialVibe. “They need to carefully determine the balance between driving loyalty and overwhelming their advocates.”

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