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Brands on Social Media: Report on How Consumers Want to Engage with Brands on Social Media

An insightful report was released this month sponsored by Hubspot and written by Nicole Montgomery, Professor of Commerce at the University of Virginia. The report presents a social media framework for brands and marketers to better understand consumer motivations on today’s major social media sites, and the type of branded content that resonates most. Based on research from over 3,000 consumers, this report from UVA presents findings and thoughts as well as enrichment from Hubspot’s own social media performance data.

Billions of people are currently on social media today and that number continues to rise. As a result, companies are increasingly relying on social media channels to reach their audiences in effective and engaging ways. Even as investment in social media marketing grows, a key challenge is understanding how brands can leverage social media in a meaning and positive way. By understanding consumers’ motivations and behaviors on social media, brands can understand how to most effectively reach their target audiences

A key highlight of the report includes recommendations for how brands should consider how each social channels aligns with specific campaign goals:

  • Facebook: Use Facebook to communicate on a one to many scale with your audience and invest in advertising to facilitate broader brand discovery. Pushing people to outside websites or landing pages is not advised.
  • Facebook Messenger: Messaging applications are fairly new channels for marketers to leverage. Their use case is clear and brands can use Messenger to have personalized one on one conversations with their audience.
  • Instagram: Users on Instagram primarily use the network to bond with their followers (by sharing details and images about their life) and discover new trends. Create broader content that incorporate lifestyle interests for Instagram.
  • Snapchat: Snapchat is primarily used for bonding stories and for communication.
  • Twitter: Users on Twitter want to discover new brands and content, and network with the brand, like-minded users, and other customers.
  • YouTube: People flock to YouTube to discover new ideas, stories, and offerings.

Bynder Group and Hubspot Research

Key takeaways from the report:

  • 3,665 U.S. respondents presented findings that consumers’ motivations for using social media channels can be classified into five distinct categories: bridging, bonding, communicating, discovering, and taking action
  • Each social network is broken down by the key behaviors brands want consumers to take after engaging with their content: Brand investigation, Brand Advocacy, and highlight where people opt to block content as well.
  • The framework provides guidelines on the best types of content to use on each network, under the umbrella categories of identity content, informational/utility content, and emotional content.
  • All findings are pulled together to provide brands with prescriptive recommendations on choosing the right channel and the right content.

Like every other brand touchpoint, understanding motivations for why consumers use social media will provide key guidance for how to best leverage social media in general and each channel specifically. As social media continues to evolve, brands and marketers need to remain agile in their approach, strategy, and tactics in order to best maximize marketing and advertising programs.

Read the full report here »


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