What is the real influence of social media on the average consumer? We know that people are spending more and more time on social media – according to a 2017 study, the average person will spend more than five years of their lives on social media! As of January this year, “there are 4.02 billion internet users around the globe — that’s 53% of the world’s total population. Active social media users make up 3.2 billion, or 42% of the population.”

At OPUSfidelis, we work with nonprofits and companies to grow their social media influence.  Whether you are a nonprofit organization or business, an active social media presence is vital for generating brand awareness. Let’s look at the influence of social media in two areas: brand loyalty and sales.

Social Media and Brand Loyalty

According to a recent article in Forbes, engaging with customers on social media increases brand loyalty.

A 2017 survey of 5,700 marketers revealed that 69% are developing loyal fans for their brands via social media marketing. In the same vein, 66% of users between the ages of 18 and 24 years old are more loyal to the brands they follow on social media, while 60% of 25- to 34-year-olds favor the businesses they follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A recent survey completed by my company in Chicago confirmed the relationship between small businesses’ use of social media and building loyalty among their community of followers: 60% of respondents stated that they followed the businesses they regularly buy services from on Facebook. Additionally, 54% of them said that they believed businesses that engaged with clients and followers on Facebook were more focused on providing better service than those that did not.

Social Media and Sales

The same article in Forbes details that social media is powerful in influencing buyer decisions:

Interestingly, because the highest percentage of users — ages 18 to 34 years old — has the most buying power, they’re likely to make a purchase with the influence of social media. A Nielsen study commissioned by Twitter revealed that one in four new vehicle purchasers in the U.S. used Twitter to help them make their decision to purchase.

In a survey of more than 600 senior marketers, 39% said they saw a medium return on investment (ROI) from organic social media posts, while 20% said they received the highest ROI from this form of marketing channel. In addition, 36% said paid social media ads brought in medium ROI, while 17% said the channel provided high ROI.

Whether we like or not, social media is here to stay. That’s why a dynamic social media presence and an effective engagement strategy are instrumental in influencing consumers online!