Are consumers really following brands on social media?

Hands Holding Colorful Speech Bubbles Social Media Concept

QUICK READ: 20% of consumers are following brands on social media, but marketers should not apply that blanket statement to all products. It’s more likely that consumers will follow brands that make products they care about, like hard goods (i.e., electronics) or exercise equipment.

Global Web Index has published its social media report. The report is of little value to most marketers because it generalizes findings, and you can’t lump consumers into one group. While they find that 20% follow brands on social media, they should acknowledge that 80% don’t.

Our group has been running research on consumers use of social media and over the last year attitudes have definitely changed. We found, for example, that many people are trying to use social media less and the they trust it less.

There will always be heavy users of social media who log on to Facebook multiple times a day but they are an exception not the rule.

We found that the number one driving factor, when researching products online were customer reviews. In fact about 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. (Spiegel). When there is a negative review that like to see the brands response. When a product gets five reviews, the likelihood of it being purchased increases by 270%. (Spiegel)

It’s also more likely that consumers who follow brands on social media are likely already customers of that brand. Over 90% of consumers who follow a brand on social media, visit that brand’s website or application and 90% will buy from that brand. Likewise, 85% of consumers will recommend that brand to a friend or family member, while 84% will choose that brand over a competitor.

Should marketers of potato chips and cookies expect consumers to follow them on social media? No. However, brands like Subaru, Trek Bikes, and Vizio have many followers because they want to stay in touch and find out about new products

In Q2 2020, the average CPM cost on social media was $4.33 and the average CTR for social media ads in Q2 2020 was 1.3%. This number is slightly up from 1.2% in 2019. Frankly, that’s pitiful, and yet marketers are pouring money into social media because the lemmings follow others off the cliff.

The irony of online advertising is that marketers need metrics, but some tactics can’t be measured. If, for example, you have a social media ad that sends a brand message without requiring a customer to click thru to your website, it can’t be measured.

Marketers need to understand why people are following them on social media and please ignore your follower count as a key metric. You should look at what others are saying about your brand and respond in internet time to complaints.

Global Web Index is using a general study to build a database of names but save your time and skip this one.

Are consumers really following brands on social media?