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Blog Post

Social Media and Brands: How Consumers Interact on Social Media [Survey]

March 16, 2021
Table of Contents

Between October-December of 2020, Power Digital conducted a survey to gather information regarding social media usage of consumers. Over 500 individuals were surveyed. 

Social media…it’s something we all love to hate and hate to love. What started as a platform to connect with friends and share glimpses of your personal life quickly became a thought-controlling marketing tool that has weaved it’s way into our everyday lives—whether we like it or not. We wanted to hear from consumers, not the platforms, on how they use social media when it comes to following and engaging with brands. Some of the information we found was surprising, and some was to be expected. But either way, we’re excited to share our findings with you. 

Download the 2021 Social Media Consumer Trends Report

Social Media Usage

Let’s start with some general information. When it comes to daily use of social media, consumers spend the majority of their time scrolling Instagram and TikTok (1-2 hours per day) whereas platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are used on average for less than 15 minutes per day. Not to mention, 27.6% of people surveyed said they expect they will use Facebook less in 2021 (RIP Facebook). With the launch of ClubHouse, Stereo, and who knows what else will appear in 2021, it will be interesting to monitor how usage reduces on more traditional platforms. On the channels consumers are active on daily, they are most likely to follow brands focused on food/beverage, apparel, media/news, fitness/health, and beauty. However, when it comes to finding new products to buy, Instagram is a clear winner with over 70% of respondents saying that they prefer that platform over all others to discover new products. 

The Best Time to Post

Now, let’s dive into when to post now. As you probably know, many platforms recommend your “best time to post” based on when your audience is engaged and online. However, as you also probably know, the time you post isn’t the same exact time that your followers will be served that post. We recommend focusing less on the specific days/times that the channels recommend posting, and instead spend that time planning ahead for when consumers are regularly online. We found that late evening (from 8pm-11pm) and early morning (6am-11am) were the two most popular times to check social media. Therefore, we recommend posting in the afternoon/early evening (around 2pm-6pm) to give your post more time to rank during the peak scrolling hours. 

The Best Type of Content to Post

Now that you know where and when to post – let’s discuss what to post. It’s no secret that video is heavily talked about by the platforms as the “top engagement driving post type”…but is that true? In our opinion, it’s not. We view it as a marketing play by Instagram and Facebook to continue to compete with more video-based platforms. But don’t just take our word for it. In our survey, we found that when it comes to hard engagements like comments and likes, consumers actually prefer static posts! In fact, users are 42.3% more likely to “like” a static image compared to a video. 

Other Social Media Strategies

Another “hyped up strategy” is the use of hashtags. However, hashtags may not be a viable strategy when it comes to brands. 66% of people on Instagram do not follow hashtags and 84% of respondents have never purchased a product they found via hashtags. Those are some pretty high stats not in favor of hashtags. 

Finally, giveaways are another common post strategy for brands. While giveaways can be excellent engagement and follower drivers, the immediate success needs to be dissected further. 26% of people that enter giveaways will not continue to follow the brand after the giveaway has ended. With that being said, you can only count on around 75% of giveaway-led followers to stick around. Although, to keep that 75% long term you need to continue to post relative and engaging content. This is a good reminder to always make sure your giveaways are speaking directly to your target audience.

“If their products are relevant to me I will continue following them [after the giveaway ends]. If they post too often or post about irrelevant things, I will unfollow.” 

Trust & Authenticity

Authenticity is a big buzzword on social media…but how do you achieve that? When it comes to social trust, consumers are least likely to trust posts coming from celebrities or social ads, and they are (naturally) most likely to trust a post from a close friend. However, surprisingly, consumers are more likely to trust a post from a brand’s page than an influencer promoting that product. It seems like gone are the days of buying into everything an influencer pitches with #ad and sponsored posts, and consumers are learning that they can’t take an influencer’s opinion at face value. This is an important reason to examine gifting campaigns to nano-influencers where they may have more trust from almost a “friend” perspective than an influencer. 

Additionally, following sizes do not build trust. While many brands are eager to have as many followers as possible, we’ve actually found that too many followers can potentially be harmful. First off, a mass amount of followers puts a divide between the consumer and the brand (How will they ever notice me? I’m just one in one million.). Secondly, a high follower count with low engagement can actually cause individuals to question your authenticity. Moral of the story — grow organically. It’s okay to be small.

Only 6.9% of people surveyed said they are more likely to follow a brand with over 10,000 followers.

The good news is that consumers do rely on social media for purchase decisions! In fact, over 65% of people surveyed said that they look at a brand’s social media page before purchasing. Additionally, nearly 70% of people surveyed said they read customer reviews, comments, and feedback before purchasing. Remember, that doesn’t mean that consumers will also follow you, but it does go to show how important an authentic social media presence is through the purchase decision. This action is why we recommend using page views as your main KPI to gauge social success. However, that doesn’t mean that social media cannot drive purchases…88.1% of people surveyed said they have purchased a product they found on social media.  

Finding Success on Social Media

It’s no secret that social media is one of the best ways to promote your brand and build credibility. Just keep in mind that authenticity, trust, and engagement are crucial components to drive purchases from your followers. You can post all you want, but think about the type of content that you’re posting and if it will motivate users to buy. And, the next time you’re looking to revamp your social media strategy, use these insights from our digital marketing agency to get the results you want!


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