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Social Media and Its Potential Impact on Brand Loyalty

User-generated content is a key aspect of social media, but can brands benefit from it as well?

That’s definitely the case, according to Sprout Social’s Q4 2017 Index report.

“As social media’s role as internet time capsule grows, so do the opportunities for brands to connect with consumers during some of life’s most significant, emotional moments,” the report says. “Whether it’s polling their peers for their latest recommendations, or shouting the praises of their most trusted products, today’s consumers are already recognizing and sharing the role their favorite brands play in their lives’ major moments and milestones. And the more brands can learn how to tap into the motivations and emotions behind that behavior, the better their chances of connecting with their audiences and turning consumers into loyal, lifelong advocates.”

Sharing major life moments via social is the new norm for 80 percent of consumers compared to in person (75 percent), text (71 percent), or phone (71 percent), the report says.

“The good news for brands is it brings them a major opportunity to gain visibility and engage with consumers in the moments that matter most to them,” the report says. “Especially given the data found that one in three people would mention a brand in a personal accomplishment on social.”

Brands have used user-generated content (UGC) in their social strategies, and the report shows that there’s much to be learned about what drives people to share personal milestones, what inspires someone to name a brand in those posts, and how brands can play a role in helping consumers memorialize, celebrate, and share more of these major moments.

Sprout Social surveyed more than 1,200 consumers and here are some of the key takeaways:

Thirty-four percent of consumers said that a discount, free product, or contest entry would motivate them to include a brand.

Some want to show brand affinity for other reasons. These include wanting friends and family to see them using a specific brand (30 percent) and because the brand’s values match their personal beliefs (29 percent).

“This shows an opportunity for brands to take a more public stance on their values and issues to encourage this deeper level of social engagement,” the report notes.

When consumers mention brands in their social posts about life milestones, the report says, 45 percent want the brand to engage in return by liking or commenting on that content—and 45 percent are hoping for a discount or deal.

Thirty percent of all consumers who want the brand to share their post from the brand’s profile.

This desire to have their content shared by brands is highest among Millennials: 41 percent would want the brand to share their post from its profile, compared to only 23 percent of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who’d want the same. Consumers know that brands often encourage and share content from their fans, and it appears that having your post chosen is an exciting motivation to mention or tag a brand when experiencing a significant event.

“While high quality, responsive customer service is key for brands to satisfy their customers on social, some of the most engaged industries aren’t necessarily the first to come to mind when consumers are celebrating a personal milestone,” the report says. “But if you go a level deeper than surface-level perception, these industries’ products and services are key to some significant milestones: Seamless utility setup makes a new house a home; shipping companies deliver meaningful gifts to celebrate major holidays and occasions.”

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