Who is using social media?
Global internet use continues to grow and is currently at more than 50% of the world’s population and shows no sign of stopping. As a result of the growth in global internet penetration, the number of social media users continues to grow too. Statistics show that projections made in 2017 of global social media users reaching 2.9 billion in 2020 were underestimated by almost 25%, the figure is 3.6 billion as of July 2020. The current number of social media users is projected to grow by a further 15% in the next three years and by almost 25% by 2025. There is no doubt that the social media bubble is not likely to burst any time soon although it is highly likely platforms will fall in and out of favour.
Studies show that social commerce is beneficial to brands if they can build trust, in the absence of in-person communication trust is important as the very platform which benefits brands by facilitating easy communication with consumers is the very same platform which could be detrimental to a brand if consumers share negative experiences. Trust can also have a positive effect on word of mouth (WOM) marketing.
How is social media being used?
Recent studies by GlobalWebIndex, (2020) have shown that around 47% of internet users cite their main reason for using social media as staying up to date with news although only 14% trust it. Nonetheless, 40% of internet users are spending longer online since the COVID pandemic outbreak with European users each managing an average of 7.5 social media accounts. In the current market, video is surging ahead in terms of popularity with TikTok proving particularly popular with up to 25% of Gen Z (born 1997 onwards) saying they have made or created video content since lockdown.
This short-form ‘snackable’ video content is more desirable to consumers with 47% of Gen Z stating that they are using social media as much as search engine results when researching a brand, proof if ever any was needed that a social media presence is not an optional extra but a must-have. It is important to recognise that each platform attracts a slightly different demographic and each will have different expectations of the brand depending on which platform they encounter the brand on.
Why does trust matter online?
A growing concern for social media users is trust, we know that trust is important in building online relationships, and a lack of trust can increase buyers remorse and reduce customer satisfaction. A recent PwC Survey (2020) concluded, “At such a pivotal moment in our recent history, the need for all consumer-facing companies to establish trust with the consumer could not be any clearer.”
With this in mind, it is wise to utilise as many tools as possible to leverage trust including client reviews and testimonials. Maxwell, J. (2019) highlighted that social media reviews are more influential than celebrity endorsements by 32% to 17% respectively and in a 2017/18 survey PwC found that 39% of Gen Z would pay more for a service they trusted, this is 30% more than the general population, however, it highlights that trust not only impacts on consumer behaviour but can also make a difference to a company’s bottom line.
What should I do to build trust online?
Numerous other studies confirm that peer reviews have a positive impact on trust and further, that they influence females more than males so businesses looking to grow their customer base should incorporate a social media testimonial strategy as an integral part of their marketing. Moreover, this female bias toward testimonials should be explored when targeting decision-makers with testimonial content. It is important to remember though that engagement rates will differ across platforms so a universal, one post suits all approach is highly unlikely to achieve the best outcome.
If you feel you would like support in either drafting a social media strategy, understanding the research further or generating testimonial content then the team at Bellyflop would be delighted to help. Bellyflop have a platform available which facilitates the quick, easy and cost-effective collection of video reviews and testimonials. Get in touch with the team for more details at bellyflop.tv