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Is Social Media Good For Business?

Author: Jess Phillips
Website: http://www.theworkplacedepot.co.uk/
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Is Social Media good for business?

“Survey data reveals that 90% of customers would recommend a brand after a positive social media interaction.”

With all the social media platforms out there, it is a wonder why some businesses are not in with the social media circle.

Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and other social media sites are not filled with people always talking about life, 'motivational' quotations or 'selfies'* taken by teenage girls. Social media is a great way of connecting and bringing customer confidence your way.

A study from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) has shown that social media is effective in positively shifting attributes, particularly, sentiment, recommendation, tendency to trial new products and brand loyalty. The research demonstrates the effectiveness of social media for enforcing brand belief, enhancing consumer interaction and increasing brand loyalty.

“Four out of five consumers said they would be more inclined to buy a brand more often in the future after being exposed to a brand's social media presence.”

More than 4,500 quantitative survey responses were collected by Marketing Sciences who are part of Creston Insight over an eight week period. The survey was based on the social media sites of three FMCG (Fast-moving Consumer Goods), 'Heinz', 'Kettle (Foods)' and 'Twinings'.

After implementing a social media campaign, each brand experienced uplift in sentiment, 'Heinz' 22%, 'Kettle' 17% and 'Twinings' 19%. 83% of consumers exposed to the social media sites, would trial a brand's product.

Granted that all three brands saw an rise in affinity and loyalty, “the IAB research shows that for every £1 spent in social media, a potential value of £3.34 could be generated.”

“The IAB study shows that, when trying to create deeper emotional connections with consumers, social media is an essential channel for brands.” - Kristin Brewe

Kristin Brewe, the IAB's Director of Marketing & Communications and Chair of the Social Media Council stated that the response from the research were not surprising. “Social media is the only channel where it's possible for brands and consumers to have meaningful two-way conversations, making the strength of connections that much stronger.”

Ian Ralph, the Director at Marketing Science who conducted the research said, “Our research shows that to create an emotional connection, brands really need to provide a clear, timely and relevant content that develops a conversations.”

He continued to say that brands really shouldn't be scared about having their products on show and of linking up their social media activities with their brand objectives.

“Social media has the potential to turn brand customers into brand fans. By making people love, not just like your brand, you're most likely to drive future purchases and increase sales.”

“Social is an essential part of the marketing mix in making offline media investment work harder and in reaching people on emotional levels impossible in other media.” - Julian Grainger

Social media has played an important role throughout the traditional 'Purchase Funnel' (a consumer focused marketing model) and has delivered a clear Return of Interest (ROI). In terms of awareness, brand metrics for consumers who were open to the brand's social media pages were stronger and more stable than for those consumers who were not exposed.

As an example, there was a 21 point difference to recommend 'Kettle' between those exposed to the social media page and those were not exposed. This was less likely to change over the eight week study period.

Julian Grainger, Director Media Strategy at Unique Digital who are an agency for 'Kettle' said “The Internet Advertising Bureau's study validates what we have seen for 'Kettle' and our other clients”.

“It was wonderful to work with brands that don't just have great social media presences, but also great products.” - Kristin Brewe

During the eight week study period, Heinz Beanz engaged with consumers about a variety of products including the promotion of the newest addition to the range 'Snap Pots'. The study results revealed that by posting regularly about a new product, drove people to a greater likelihood to trial the product.

Ian McCarthy, Heinz Marketing Manager, said “Fans of Heinz Beanz expect to see us regularly in their social channels and react the best to content that's about the products they love. In the case of encouraging trial for a newer product line, frequency becomes even more important to support the new concept, as the IAB study illustrates.”

Twinings study also showed positive results. They too posted regularly about the products and highly product-orientated content and the results showed that those exposed to the brand's social media activity, were more likely to buy more Twinings products in the future than those who were not exposed.

Brewe concluded with “Because fans don't just like, but love, the brands these choose to interact with, what people are often looking for is as simple as a lovely picture of the Heinz beans they love for breakfast, the Twinings tea they drink at elevenses, and a picture of the Kettle chips they snack on.”

The research was conducted on behalf of the IAB's Social Media Council and was carried out by Marketing Sciences.

*'Selfies' is a social media word for photos taken by the person of themselves. 

Jess Phillips is a content writer and blogger for The Workplace Depot. She regularly writes about social media and is involved with The Workplace Depot's social media pages.

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  • Survey data reveals that 90% of customers would recommend a brand after a positive social media interaction.
  • Social media is a great way of connecting and bringing customer confidence your way.
  • Social media has the potential to turn brand customers into brand fans.
  • Social Media is an essential part of the marketing mix in making offline media investment work harder and in reaching people on emotional levels impossible in other media-related areas.