Study: Social Networks influence brand participation and engagement

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There has been a lot of talks in businesses lately on how much social media and social networks influence consumers’ lives and affects communication, shopping and other activities. The more proof the world has on the fact that this is a valid business reason to take care off, the more companies will reorganize, rethink and restructure their business brand strategy.

A recent US report by ROI Research, released and sponsored by Performics, illustrates the consumers behaviour online and leads to insights for marketeers how brands could profit from the engagement of people in social networks.

The general behavior of the 3,000 U.S. social network user responding shows how much people are engaged in social networks today…

– 80% have an active Facebook account, 23% without an active Facebook account plan to join in the next six months
– 67% have reconnected with people through social networking sites that they never would have otherwise
– 51% say scocial sites are the best way to communicate with friends/family
– 39% of Twitter users respond to other people’s tweets once a week or more
– Over 30% access Facebook and/or Twitter from mobile phone once a day or more

The more important fact for me is the way in which consumers connect with brands in social networks. Brand engagement on social networks cannot be underestimated any longer when we face the following numbers…

– 50% of Facebook users click on Facebook ads to “like” a brand
– 40 % use social sites to connect with brands and products
– 37% learned about a new product or service from a social networking site
– 32% have recommended a product/service/brand to friends via a social networking site
– 32% of Twitter users re-tweet content provided by a company or product

“Social networks have made real and substantial changes in the lives of their users, in part by empowering them to more actively participate with brands and each other,” said Daina Middleton, CEO of Performics. “More than a third of all respondents reported using a search engine to further learn after seeing an ad on a social networking site, for example, and more than a third think social networking sites are good sources of information about companies and products.”

It is interesting to see that companies get good ratings for their Facebook pages and engagement. More than a third said most or all of them were doing a good job. 90% said that at least some of the companies and/or products they are a fan of are doing a good job providing relevant content.

“Users are not only satisfied, they want more, which is a good sign for marketers,” noted Scott Haiges, president of ROI Research. “Respondents expressed a strong desire to get more printable coupons (49%, notifications of sales and special deals (46%), and information about new products (35%) from companies or products on Facebook, and this rings truer in some industries more than others.”

Spot On!
Facebook could become the driving force of social network brand engagement. Personally, I do see Facebook as the social web lab for new advertising and brand engagement formats. Nevertheless, brands should be aware that brand engagement for most users is a „Give-and-Take“ game. Especially in times, when brand engagement is rising, companies should try to find out who their brand advocates (see report by Deloitte) are. They could use these as their „unnamed“ pre-sales force (word-of-mouth) and try to get in touch with them to establish new products, new services, and finally new business.

Any ideas of how this could be done? Share your thoughts with us…

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