Digital transformation is in full swing. Affected by events in 2020, this wave of transformation marks a shift in how companies and consumers view, use and value social media-we have data to prove this.
Harris Poll Representative Sprout Social surveyed more than 1,000 American consumers and 250 corporate executives to better understand how they use social media, the importance of social media marketing, the impact of social on organizations, and the future. How will its impact change during the year.
For companies that want to know when to start investing more in the social field, now is the time. The sooner you start using social media as a key business function, the farther a strong social trend will take you. Companies that fail to do so may be left behind.
Not convinced? Read on for seven statistics that prove how important social media marketing is to businesses of all forms and sizes.
1. 55% of consumers learn about new brands through social media
Social media is a place of discovery. Now, consumers learn about a brand or company through social media almost as common as through television or radio advertising.
In the age of streaming media, we no longer need to watch or listen to advertisements. We can fast forward, change channels or choose from an unlimited library of non-commercial content. However, on social media, advertising and branded content exist in or alongside the social stream, which looks a lot like the content we consume from friends, family, and other relationships.
At the same time, the value of radio and TV advertising spaces is shrinking, so if your business is looking for a valuable investment to redirect advertising revenue to, consider social.
Why it matters
When we take a closer look at 55% of consumers who learn about new brands through social media, Gen Z and millennials are particularly likely to use social media to discover brands. As the spending power of these digital natives increases, the scale of social networks will continue to grow. By 2025, there will be more than 243 million social network users in the United States. If your brand is not ready to take advantage of the growing network, these consumers are most likely to discover your competitors first.
2. 68% of consumers agree that social media enables them to interact with brands and companies
Although the traditional marketing and advertising method is one-way media, and brands rely on their monologues to win consumers, social media supports conversations and provides consumers with unique opportunities to participate.
At least two-fifths of consumers said that they interact with a brand or company by “liking” a brand or company’s posts or following it on social media. In addition, consumers view social media as a feedback loop where they can report product issues, post comments, or send messages privately to the company.
I like that brands interact with you socially. A simple “Like” can go a long way in building brand love.
Never underestimate the power of social listening and community management.
-Kate Ruda (@kate_ruda) August 17, 2020
Why it matters
Social offers great potential for customer engagement, which is the main goal of many marketers and positively influences customers’ decisions to buy from a brand. Responsive brands that constantly react and communicate with consumers in two ways can better meet customer needs and provide personalized and humanized content in a way that establishes a deeper connection with customers.
With the help of Sprout Social’s smart inbox and other tools to collect inbound messages and brand keyword mentions, brands can ensure that they will not miss meaningful opportunities to participate.
3. Last year, 43% of consumers increased their use of social media to discover new products
When the COVID-19 pandemic closed the physical world and people stayed at home, almost everything moved to the digital space. Consumers’ use of social interaction to discover or understand new products or services has increased by 43%-a trend that is expected to continue in the next three years. Compared with a year ago, slightly more than one-third of consumers pay attention to and interact with brands, and this number is expected to increase in the future.
Why it matters
As more and more people accept the society-first customer journey, companies need to prepare forward-looking strategies that put their products and services first. Social commerce is another area where corporate venture capital executives are eager to invest. It does this while allowing consumers to seamlessly switch from discovery mode to purchase mode in one place.
4. 78% of consumers are willing to buy from the company after having a positive social experience
Never underestimate the social impact of your brand or company’s positive experience. Whether this experience is driven by responsive top-level customer service, relevant content, or merely showing an understanding of the customer on a personal level, the business benefits are undisputed.
I think brands often underestimate the power of quality customer service. This experience not only increased my loyalty and love to their brand, but also gave me the opportunity to share the product and my positive experience with friends✨
— Courtney Lacey (@clacy__) December 4, 2018
Why it matters
A positive experience will not only encourage customers to buy from your brand, but they are also more likely to choose your brand over competitors, recommend your brand to their own network and feel stronger brand loyalty.
A positive experience depends on specific customer expectations, but companies should pay close attention to several factors.
In addition to having inbox management tools, marketers also need a reliable strategy to provide top-notch, responsive customer service. Download this checklist to help companies meet the needs of Instagram customers. Then, apply what you have learned to the customer service strategies of other social networks.
5. 80% of business executives believe that investing additional resources in social media marketing is very important or essential
Social networking can make big brands feel welcome and accessible. On the other hand, small businesses can use social networking to attract a larger audience while attracting loyal local followers. However, if you don’t have the right tools and resources to increase your social influence, explore new creative content, and communicate effectively with your audience on a large scale, companies may fall behind.
Think of it this way: if you have a car but don’t add gasoline, it won’t take you anywhere.
Fortunately, companies now view social as a tool for business growth, and 80% of executives believe that it is absolutely necessary to invest additional resources in social media marketing.
Why it matters
It’s not just executives who believe that social investment is critical-62% of consumers believe that brands need strong social influence to achieve long-term success.
Start cheering and investing resources now, so you can seize the lead among competitors who have not yet seen social as an engine for business growth. Request a free, personalized Sprout Social demo to learn more about how our tools can take your business to the next level.
6. 91% of executives will increase their social media marketing budgets in the next 3 years
In the past few years, securing budgets and resources for social media marketing has been one of the biggest challenges facing marketers. Now, social media marketing budgets are increasing across the board.
These budgets have not only increased slightly, they are also increasing substantially. More than half of the executives surveyed expect their social marketing budget to increase by more than 50% by 2024.
Whether the budget is allocated for hiring new social team employees, paid advertising, content production, or social marketing technology stack, depends on the social goals of each company. If you are looking for more insights on how to create a social media marketing budget, check out this article.
Why it matters
Companies will not necessarily see the return on their social investment overnight. But if you plant the seeds now, use data to nurture your strategy, and provide your social team with tools to harvest the fruits of their labor, you can reap long-term dividends.
7. 72% of companies use social media data to inform business decisions
72% of interviewed executives said that social data is already the primary data source used to provide information for business decisions, and its importance even exceeds that of market research. Looking to the future, 85% of people agree that social data will become the main source of business intelligence.
Why it matters
Until recently, companies still underutilized social data. Finally, we have seen this shift. According to the latest Sprout Social Index™, Version XVII: Upgrading, 90% of marketers agree that social data enables them to stay ahead of their competitors.
On the surface, the social space may appear crowded and noisy, but when marketers can eliminate the noise with analytics and social listening tools, they can discover the rich insights that the smartest brands use to differentiate their strategies.
The importance of social media in business goes beyond marketing
Companies of all kinds are finally starting to look at social in different ways—as a mature business function, not just a marketing tool. In the next few years, companies will rely more than ever on social data to inform strategic and business decisions outside of marketing.
As other departments in your business begin to utilize social data, your social team will become the source of choice for guidance. Social marketers are already proficient in transforming social data into strategic business recommendations, targeted content, etc. Start proactively demonstrating this expertise to influence other elements of your business.
Prepare your business for the next wave of digital transformation. Download the social media investment status report Learn more about data and insights that underscore why using social media for business will put you on the path to growth.