In a potentially significant change in consumer behavior related to the pandemic, new research indicates people are using social media more to message with the customer support teams of the brands they engage with.
The data, which comes from a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults fielded via Pollfish on Aug. 31 by Mitto, finds 70% reported an increase in their social media use since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and 58% said they are using it to message more with brands.
“There are so many communications channels available and brands are being stretched to adapt their messaging strategy to meet consumers where they’re at,” explains Andrea Giacomini, CEO of Mitto, a provider of “omnichannel communications solutions.”
“With social media usage up since the beginning of the pandemic, it is no surprise that consumers are now turning to social media more to message with brands,” she continues, noting, “and those brands that evolve their digital customer experiences to include social media messaging will reap the benefits of effective customer engagement.”
The study also indicates that “positive experiences” via social media messaging are driving consumer purchase decisions.
Overall, 87% of respondents said they have used social media apps to message with brands, and significant numbers indicated it has explicitly influenced their purchase of the brand on various channels:
55% on a brand’s website.
42% via an app.
The research also finds that social media pages have become a place many consumers turn to for help and answers concerning a brand’s product, with 77% of those surveyed indicating they have contacted a brand’s customer support through social media.
In fact, 58% of respondents said they prefer using social media to communicate with a brand vs. email, phone calls or text. They cited attributes such as convenience (72%), speed (61%), and personalization (50%).
The survey also shows specific types of messaging consumers want to see from brands’ social media: 70% want promo codes, 61% want sales, 54% want customer support, and 52% want order updates.
In terms of social media app preferences, 78% use Facebook to message brands, 57% Instagram and 45% Twitter.
Facebook was consistently the top app choice for consumers with:
68% for messaging retail/ecommerce,
55% for finance/banking,
61% for travel,
61% for food/delivery service and 58% for gaming.
The research provided some insight into how brands can improve social media messaging experiences. Unsurprisingly, this includes greater personalization (43% agree) and quickened response times (42% agree).
Lastly, the finance and banking industries were called out for not clearly communicating how they will ensure that social media messaging remains a secure channel of communication. Because of this, 45% of those surveyed are unwilling to use social messaging with finance and banking brands.