Consumers are spending more time than ever for using social media platforms.
Social media plays a vital role in how consumers discover, research and then share information about brands and their products. In fact around 60% of consumers explore products through multiple online sources, wherein they also learn about a specific brand or retailer through social networking sites. The active social media users are more likely to read about the product reviews online, and mostly 3 out of 5 people create their own reviews of the products and services they have used. In this case women are more likely to tell about products that they like (81% of women v/s 72% of men).
Social media is also increasingly becoming a platform where consumers express their loyalty towards their favorite brand and its products and services, and some of them also seek to gain benefits form brands for helping in promoting their products. When researching about which products to buy, social media users are likely to trust the recommendations made by their friends and family the most, and 2 out of 3 people say that they were either highly or to some extent were influenced by advertising with a social context.
Another facility provided by social media is the opportunity for its users to share information and/or content with each other about a brand and its products and services. Essentially this means that brands no longer have the same type of control over how they are conveyed and received as they once did.
Social media also plays an important role in protecting brands. 58% of the social media users say that they write product reviews to save other people from bad experience, and nearly 1 out of 4 say that they share their bad or negative experience just to punish companies.
Some customers use social media to engage with brands on the level of customer service, and expect the customer support within 12 hours of complaint.
Another area of interest is that consumers also act as brand ambassadors and advocates via social media. A majority of active social networkers also follow their respective brands on all social media platforms from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat to Google+. These brands are progressively recruiting their followers and fans to spread word-of-mouth recommendations about their products and services. And among the consumers who write product reviews online, a majority of them say that they share their experiences to give recognition for a service well performed by the company. Social media users are also developing interest in collaborating with their favorite brands, with 60% of youth (18 to 34 year olds) saying that they want to give recommendations for product improvement, and another 64% who want to customize their products.