Smartphones and tablets have led to always on access to the Internet. Where are people spending a majority of their time online? According to Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report, more and more of it is spent on social networking sites.
“Time spent on mobile apps and the mobile web account for 63 percent of the year-over-year growth in overall time spend using social media,” states the report. In addition, 46 percent of social media users access social networks via a mobile device. In regard to social media use overall, users in the US spent 121 billion minutes on social networking sites between July 2011 and July 2012, up from 88 billion the previous year.
Reliance on Social Media Good News for Brands
Whether on mobile devices, laptops or desktop computers, this hunger for interaction via social media is good news for brands. A recent survey (PDF) from social media curation platform provider Mass Relevance revealed some interesting facts:
- 59 percent of respondents reported they are more likely to trust brands that integrate social media;
- 75 percent of social networkers talk about brands; for 18-34 year-olds it’s 91 percent;
- 62 percent are more likely to engage with social brands;
- 60 percent are more likely to share the messages of brands that integrate social experiences into their own digital properties, such as a brand website or mobile app;
- Where social commerce is concerned, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) have already made a purchase based on social content; that was true of 76 percent of 18-34 year-olds.
Recommendations for Brands
In summarizing the survey results, Mass Relevance found that consumers rely on social media in four ways:
- They pay more attention to brands that integrate social media;
- They are more likely to share social experiences;
- They prefer to do business with social brands;
- They use social information to make purchasing decisions.
Based on these findings, the company made the following recommendations:
Brands Should Engage with Consumers via Social Media
“Consumers pay more attention to brands that create social media experiences and spend more time on websites when social media is integrated,” the survey said. Therefore, brands should integrate social media experiences into their own web properties (including mobile apps), as well as engage with consumers on social networks.
Brands Should Use Social Media to Amplify Their Message
Not only do brands have audiences, each audience member has his or her own network of friends and followers. When a brand shares a message, chances are some of its fans will follow suit. When the audience shares, the message is amplified. “The good news is the audience wants to share the message of social brands,” stated the survey.
Brands Should Use Social Media to Foster Trust
Since more than half of survey respondents indicated that they are “more likely to trust brands that integrate social media,” brands should use it to foster such confidence.
The increased use of mobile technologies has made access to social media easier and more readily available and people are taking advantage of this access to talk about brands. Therefore, brands should welcome this trend by integrating social experiences to engage with fans and followers, amplify brand messaging, and promote trust.
“Your audience prefers and trusts social brands and is starting to use social information to make purchasing decisions. With the fragmentation of experiences, the explosion of digital experiences, and the desire for participation, the time to integrate social media into all facets of brand marketing is now,” the survey declares.
Brands that do so put themselves ahead of the sales cycle and create a presence at multiple touchpoints along the purchase funnel.