Over the last few years social media has played an important role in how a business interacts with its customers. Long gone are the days where contact could only be made via a telephone call during office hours or by sending a letter in the post. Instead, consumers can interact with businesses and vice-versa 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; and it looks as though this regular online marketing and interaction with consumers is paying dividends for brands who take part.

A recent study conducted by Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey looked at a group of 1,491 online consumers aged 18+ during a fifteen minute window in January. The findings of the research show that if your brand can attract “followers” on Twitter or “Likes” on Facebook, then your business could (in time) reap the rewards.

60% of those who follow a brand, whether it’s a well-known confectionary manufacturer, a High Street store or a professional firm admitted that they’re likely to recommend the brand to a friend, relative or one of their followers. Whilst half of those who “follow” a brand admitted they’re likely to buy from the brand.

These findings mirror those of a previous study carried out on Facebook users. That particular study found that 56% of Facebook users are more likely to recommend a brand after “Liking it on Facebook, whilst 51% are likely to buy from the company after “Liking” them.

Whilst the results of the two studies make for good reading for those currently undertaking online marketing on various social media platforms, as well as for those who are considering it, it is worth noting that getting the interaction with consumers and clients isn’t as simple as creating a profile and hoping the “follows” come flooding in.

How to Entice Consumers:

Whilst the study gave an indication as to how online marketing via social media can be beneficial for a brand, it also indicated how hard it can be for brands to entice clients and consumers.

Out of the 1,491 social media users who took part in the study, less than a quarter of them follow a brand on Twitter, showing how difficult it can be to get your online marketing correct. However, of those 75% claim never to have unfollowed a brand, showing that once you’ve enticed them to “follow” your business on Twitter, you can be confident they’ll be there for the long haul.

So why do people follow brands? Some of the main reasons are:

  • They’re already a customer of the company – Are your clients aware you’re on Twitter? If not, promote your online business profile via adding a relevant widget to your website and business e-mail signatures, along with a link on all stationary you send out to customers and clients.
  • They want to be the first to know information about the brand – Do you have some breaking news? Share it with your social media followers first, give them a reason to follow you.
  • They want to receive discounts/promotions – Online promotions and discounts are a lot easier and cheaper to run than those within the printed press, plus you have greater control over them.
  • They’re looking to receive content or information to retweet and share with their followers– Whilst only 23% claim to tweet/retweet about a brand they follow, if each of those 23% only has 50 followers, that’s still more people who will hear about your brand, services and products.

Success via online marketing isn’t going to come overnight as this recent study has found out; but overtime, if you continue to put the work into your social media platforms and provide content which is of interest to your followers, you will begin to reap the rewards.

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