It’s no secret that social media and marketing have been united. Over the past few years, marketing news regularly champions the importance of advertising on social media sites. One of the reasons for the increasing popularity of social media marketing is how much time people spend on social sites. Studies suggest that the average person is on social media sites for about two hours every day.
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With social media becoming such an influential part of many people’s everyday lives, the technology is also affecting consumer trends. Social media influences customer behavior, changing how people are driven to visit sites, create web traffic, and even make purchases.
Consider some of the following ways social media affects customer behavior to drive traffic and sales:
#1: Social Media Posts Keep Your Brand Visible
Traditional online advertising changes as consumers click through different web pages. Ads are not searchable. If a consumer closes one window and then returns to it in hopes of finding an ad they saw, it may have changed already. One of the main benefits of marketing through social media is the visibility and stability of information shared.
For example, if a consumer notices your product as they scroll through their Facebook feed but doesn’t think much about it at the time, they can later review their social feed or search for your company’s page to find the information again when they want it. Further, even if consumers don’t go looking for your brand online, once they follow your company on a social feed, they’ll see much of what you share, making a product and brand placement natural, unobtrusive, and consistent.
#2: Social Media Presence Makes Brand Loyalty Natural
Social media marketing makes your brand visible, increasing consumers’ ability to find information about your company and how often they encounter your brand. Visibility can translate to loyalty when social media marketing is effective. Consumers who “follow,” “share,” and regularly “like” posts on social media are likely to click on links, increasing web traffic for your business naturally and consistently through brand loyalty.
#3: Social Media can Drive or Deter Traffic
In this age of the empowered consumer, it is important to remember that consumers have a large amount of influence and power on social media sites. As a result, consumers who are dissatisfied with your business can deter traffic, whereas consumers who appreciate your business can drive more traffic to your company.
A bad review on a social media site, for example, can create negative online press, deterring other consumers from trusting your brand. At the same time, consumers who find your business offers value on social media are likely to offer positive press among their social networks. Valuable offerings on social media can include things like offering free DIY printing ideas, practical how-to videos, or kind responses to comments made on posts.
#4: Social Media Reaches Consumers While They Are Already Online
To be on a social media website, consumers have to be on the web. That means they have a connection to the internet, are possibly using a web browser, and are likely to be clicking links that interest them. For example, 89% of US internet users are now on Facebook. About 76% of those users access Facebook on their computer or mobile phone on a daily basis.
What this means for marketing professionals is that millions of consumers are just one click away from company websites, product pages, and others sales material online every single day. This is markedly different from marketing ease ten years ago when consumers were likely to encounter a brand once in a while, not daily. When consumers encountered a brand through a television commercial or printed ad, they still had to physically drive to a store, mail in a subscription form, or call a company to make purchases or get more information. Today, they just have to click a button.
#5: Social Media Makes the Sales Funnel More Convenient for Consumers
As consumers have grown accustomed to being just one click away from discovering a new brand, visiting a company website, or making a purchase, they now look for convenience. Effective social media marketing won’t make consumers jump through hoops in the sales funnel to get hooked and buy a product. Consumer behavior has shifted to the expectation that just a few convenient clicks will lead to a notification that the product will arrive in just a few days.
#6: Social Media Connects Trends with Sales Incentives
With increased visibility and expectations of convenience, businesses must keep up with trends. Otherwise, they’ll get lost in the shuffle or deter customers by appearing out of date. Social media posting trends currently include SEO friendly posts, bite-sized videos, and social commerce advertising.
Connect trends like with sales incentives to make it easy and apparent to consumers that purchases will be as on trend, convenient, and satisfying as the posts your company shares on social media. Use call to action statements, include links and create “buy now” buttons in your posts. Consumers know they will encounter advertising like this on their social media- many even look for it there. Do it well and your traffic and sales may increase.
#7: Social Media Engagement Increases the Likelihood of Purchase
Rather than spending time in stores browsing items or communicating with sales personnel, many consumers turn to social media for information and ideas before making purchases. In fact, shoppers are 29% more likely to make the same day purchase when they use social media in the decision-making process.
Part of what drives the likelihood of purchase based on social media is evidence of customer satisfaction. Of all social media marketing practices, being proactive to achieve customer satisfaction is the most important. Social media users can be fickle. Brand reputations can grow positively or suffer tremendously depending on customer satisfaction and how vocal consumers are about their experiences online.
To ensure that social media drives traffic and increases sales for your business, find out where your consumers are on social media, what their needs are, and how you can meet their expectations. The return on investment can be high when businesses take the time to understand how social media is changing commerce.