Social media has long been a major brand-consumer engagement point and forms an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. Smart marketers are now looking at social media as more than a mere channel for more reach and engagement, but rather a must-have for every business or brand looking to compete in today’s landscape. Here’s why:

1. One Third Follow Their Favorite Brands

Just over a third of internet users are following their favorite brands on social networks, while some 25% follow brands they are considering purchasing from. Crucially, that’s a large section of digital consumers who are happy to have branded content on their newsfeeds. And it’s not hard to see why these brand followers are a valuable audience – 85% shop online each month and 42% use social networks to research brands.

2. 12% of Facebookers Interacting With Brands

Alongside following brands, a considerable number are using social networks to contact brands directly – whether to ask a question about a product or to leave feedback. If we focus on Facebookers, it’s some 12% who say they asked a question on a brand’s Facebook page in the last month.

Direct interaction like this can bring serious benefits – 15% of Facebookers are posting positive comments about brands each month, helping grow brands’ organic reach.

3. Social is Now a Key Product Discovery Channel

It’s now 14% of digital consumers who say they find out about new products through branded updates seen on their newsfeeds, with Instagrammers (20%), Pinterest (19%) and Twitter users (19%) scoring the highest figures here.

As well as content posted by the brand itself, consumer recommendations on social media can have an impact. 1 in 4 digital consumers say they find out about new products or brands through these recommendations, and, again, Instagrammers (33%) are ahead here. And with consumer reviews cited as a purchase driver for many, the value of gaining brand advocates on social networks is re-confirmed.

4. 16-24s as Likely to Click Sponsored Posts as Online Ads

Advertising on social media has become essential for most brands looking to enhance brand awareness. And sponsored social media posts, often considered a less intrusive form of advertising, have proven to be an engaging marketing method. 12% of internet users are clicking on these posts each month – a behavior that is most pronounced among younger internet users. In fact, 16-24s are now almost as likely to be clicking on sponsored social media posts (14%) as they are to be clicking on online ads (16%) – a clear indication of the power of social media advertising.


Written by

Katie is a Strategic Insights Manager at GWI. Moving to the company 4 years ago, Katie heads up the Strategic Insights team, overseeing the production of bespoke assets for clients. Katie also writes on GWI's blog, with a particular interest in social media and marketing.

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