Marketing Blog | Addison Clark | Richmond, VA

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It is no secret that social media influences shopping decisions – especially among millennials. In fact, one report found that 47% of millennials say their purchasing decisions are influenced by social media. What might surprise you though is that this influence isn’t coming from the marketing messages brands are posting. Instead, it’s stemming from what millennials see their peers posting and sharing on social media.

Nearly 9 in 10 consumers view an online review with the same importance as a personal recommendation.

This information is important for brands on social media to understand. The power of social media influence doesn’t lie in a steady stream of promotional messaging from the brand. Instead, it comes from user-generated content, positive reviews, and consumer feedback and comments.

Here are some ways you can use user-generated content for your benefit on social media:

Encourage customers to leave reviews on social media.
The content that your brand is publishing on social media is important, but – in some cases – the content that your customers are posting is even more important! Positive reviews from your customers speak volumes to potential customers. In fact, 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.

Get more customers involved.
Encourage user-generated content around your brand by getting your customers involved. One way to do this is by creating a branded hashtag for customers to use on Instagram or Twitter. Not only does this promote customer participation, but it also helps you see how your customers (and millennials, particularly) are discussing your brand on social media.

Use your social profiles as a platform for customer service.
Bringing customer service interactions to a public setting like social media can be a risk, but it’s one that pays off overall. In theory, you’re responding to the comment or complaint of one customer, but in reality, there are many more potential customers who will eventually see this exchange. How your brand interacts with one customer on social media shows your brand’s commitment to keeping customers happy and resolving customer complaints. This can go a long way towards influencing a potential customer to deal with your brand.

Look for opportunities to promote your user-generated content.
If customers are talking about your brand, sharing photos of your product, or discussing your services online, use that to your advantage. These personal endorsements speak volumes to potential customers. Even if they don’t personally know the person who left the review, today’s generation trusts online reviews unlike any generation before them.

Build genuine relationships on social media.
In the end, an effective social media presence boils down to genuine relationships. If your brand is only focused on sending out marketing messages through social media, you won’t be very effective at building relationships. Talk to your customers. Encourage feedback. Initiate conversation. Respond to their comments. The more engaged you are with your audience, the more engaged they’ll be with you.

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