Social Integration Drives Consumer Engagement and Trust: People Want to Engage With a “Social Brand,” New Research Shows – Brands Can Use Real-Time Customer Conversations to Build Social Experiences

Mass Relevance, a technology leader in social curation and integration, this week released a new research study that quantifies the impact of social integration on customer engagement, brand preference and purchase intent. The report is the first in a series of studies by Mass Relevance and finds that consumers want to engage with brands that integrate social media and prefer to do business with social brands. Key findings include:

  • 60 percent are more likely to share the messages of brands that integrate social experiences into their own digital properties (the brands' web sites, mobile app, etc.).
  • Simply integrating social media gives brands a competitive advantage: 59 percent of respondents are more likely to trust brands that integrate social media.
  • Nearly two-thirds have already made a purchase based on social content.

"This study proves that people want to engage with a 'social brand' and shows how brands can begin to build social experiences that drive interaction and sales," said Sam Decker, founder and CEO of Mass Relevance, in a news release. "Through the case studies and data shared in this report, we can see how brands are integrating social experiences into their owned media assets to connect with customers in an entirely new, interactive and engaging way."

The survey finds that the majority of people surveyed are already utilizing social media to find and share information about brands. Consumers are now more likely to engage with brands that have 'gone social' and share the messages of those social brands. They also tend to prefer to do business with social brands and many of them have already made purchasing decisions based on social content.

Social Engagement

Consumers pay more attention to brands that create social media experiences and spend more time on a brand's website when social media is integrated:

  • 75 percent of those surveyed are already talking about brands on social media. For the 18-34 year old segment, this number increased to 91 percent.
  • The majority of respondents (58 percent) reported that they are more likely to interact with brands that integrate social media, while only 16 percent are not. 62 percent of those surveyed said that they are more likely to stay engaged with brands that integrate social media.
  • Success Story: “American Idol" found that fans who interacted with a social hub spent seven times longer on the show's website than those who did not interact with the digital experience. Their 2011 finale received 1.4 million social comments during the show, breaking the record at that time.

Amplification and Reach

Integrating social media into marketing efforts not only increases engagement within a platform, but it expands reach to new audiences and channels:

  • When asked about brands that integrate social media on their websites, 60 percent of respondents reported that they were more likely to share experiences with the brand or product, while only 16 percent were not.
  • More than half of the respondents (56 percent) said they would be more likely to encourage friends and family to try new products from the brand.
  • Success Story: TaylorMade-adidas created a social conversation hub to engage fans, allowing them to interact with each other and with some of the sport's biggest brands for the US Open. As a result, they added 19,000 new fans and were the top ranked brand for engagement on Facebook.

Brand Preference

In addition to reaching more people, brands that integrate social media increase the level of trust and positive perception by the audience:

  • 59 percent of respondents reported that they are more likely to trust brands that integrate social media.
  • 46 percent stated that they would prefer to do business with companies that use social media. For the 18-34 year old segment, this number increased to 67 percent.

Purchase Intent

Consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on social media content:

  • Nearly two-thirds of those who use social media to find information or share feedback about brands have purchased a product based on social media content.
  • 63 percent of respondents reported that they were more likely to buy products and try new things because of the social comments of others while only 12 percent said they would not.

Access the full study here.

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