Facebook is the most popular social media site among US adults, but how, exactly are consumers using it? Beyond connecting with friends, are consumers utilizing Facebook and other social media platforms to follow brands and gather information about companies and products?
A recent study by InSites Consulting took a deep dive into these questions, polling more than 9,000 people from 35 countries (Europe, South & North America, Asia and Oceania). Based on the data collected, InSites Consulting estimates that 1 billion people worldwide now use social networks. In addition, the study found that:
- Some 186 million American internet users (76 percent) use social media, and among these, Facebook is the most popular site (70 percent).
- 22 percent of American internet users use LinkedIn; 20 percent use Twitter.
- The US has a somewhat higher social media adoption level than European countries (73 percent). Meanwhile, India (88 percent) and Brazil (86 percent) show even deeper penetration.
- More than half of social network users (57 percent) follow information on brands and companies. Four sectors are very popular: media, fashion, food and retail chains.
- The majority of social network users would like to be involved in the management of companies they like.
Interestingly, the data indicates that following brands on social media is driven by the actual user experience; people become a fan after having used the product. In addition, consumers expect some sort of personal benefit. They want companies to give them extra promotions and information. For example, the study found:
- 56 percent of fans expect extra promotions of the brand on social media,
- 55 percent want to receive invites to events and
- 50 percent are looking forward to reading more product information.
(These results echo earlier research which concluded that consumers are quite pragmatic about interacting with businesses online; they want to “be social” so they can receive discounts and make purchases.)
Many consumers even want to be involved in their favorite brand’s management. 47 percent of all American social network users would love to share ideas with a company. 27 percent would love nothing more than to co-create new products and services with a fun brand.
“Consumers have a very tight connection with certain brands. Involving these people in your company’s management via social media is a new way of approaching your company and the market,” Professor Steven Van Belleghem, Managing Partner at InSites Consulting, said. “Social media help consumers to better understand how marketing works and therefore also help them to play a determining part in a company’s management.”
More information on the study is available here.