There may be some hand-wringing about the ROI of social media marketing, but brand posts apparently can be a powerful influence in consumer purchase decisions, finds Market Force in a survey of 12,000 consumers in the US and UK to be released later this week. 78% of the US respondents reported that posts by retail, restaurant, travel, entertainment, and financial services businesses they follow on social media have had a moderate to highly influential effect on their purchase decisions. This was close to the proportion (81%) who said that their friends’ posts influence their decisions. Posts from friends are also a way for 3 in 5 US respondents to gather information or opinions about restaurants and retailers. This finding comes on the heels of a March 2012 report from Sociable Labs, which found that 1 in 4 online shoppers, who shop at least quarterly online and login to their Facebook account at least monthly, have made a purchase based on a social recommendation.
Consumers Like For Discounts
Data from the study indicates that 76% of US respondents regularly like the Facebook page of restaurant, retail, travel, entertainment, and financial services businesses. The chief reason for doing so is to take advantage of discounts and other incentives (79%), followed by seeing details on sales and events (70%). 28% said they like sharing their favorite things with friends.
According to December 2011 survey results from the CMO Council, the top reasons cited by consumers for liking brands on Facebook were: being loyal customers (49%); wanting to track brand news (46%); looking for incentives or rewards for engaging with the brand (46%); and looking for special savings or events (43%).
- Among the 76% of US respondents to the Market Force survey who regularly like the Facebook pages of one of the 5 categories identified, 46% indicated that they followed those businesses on Twitter.
- 65% of the UK respondents said they regularly like the Facebook page of restaurant, retail, travel, entertainment, and financial services businesses, with the top reason being to take advantage of incentives or discounts (67%).
- Among the various categories, American respondents were most likely to have liked restaurants pages (86%) on Facebook, followed by entertainment (76%) and retail (75%). UK consumers were more apt to like entertainment pages (76%), followed by restaurant pages (71%). Financial services pages ranked last among both groups, at 13% of US and 7% of UK respondents.
- On Twitter, entertainment pages were the most popular, at 81% of US and UK respondents.
- About 1 in 10 consumers from both countries said they had posted something negative about a company on a social media site, though more than two-thirds of the time, companies did not respond.
- All of the US respondents to the survey reported using a form of social media, with 95% saying they had a Facebook account and 62% a Twitter account. 86% of the UK respondents said they used at least one form of social media.