While social media is still considered a relatively new industry and phenomenon, there’s no denying that it has an enormous role in today’s business world.

86% of marketers consider it to be important to their businesses, as 75% of them report positive results in terms of traffic increase, and 64% of them see lead generation results just by spending at least six hours per week on social media marketing.

Clearly, social media is redefining what marketing is and how brands should play it and be accepted by consumers.
What are the roles social media play for brands and consumers?

For Brands

1. Increased Brand Recognition and Authority

Social media presence makes your brand more visible and in the long-term, easily recognizable. Whenever you share and syndicate your content across social media channels, you add value to increase your brand visibility and recognition.
A higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and strengthen brand credibility.

2. Building a Community

Social media has provided the means for brands to create a community among their customers, brands, and loyal advocates. It encourages engagement and connectivity, starting a ripple effect that from awareness, sales, engagement to loyalty.

3. Increased Sales Conversion

There’s no doubt that social media, when used as a marketing tool is a great e-commerce extension. The promotion is easily shared, and its effects are instantly felt.
The real-time nature of social media creates this need to purchase the desired item immediately before it is sold out. Studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.
Social media platforms have recognized this advantage and have integrated tools to facilitate social e-commerce. A great example is the Facebook’s “buy now” button on group pages.

4. Building Brand Loyalty and Ambassadors, Influencers

Brands who engage customers on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers, according to Texas Tech University report. This is further confirmed in a Convince&Convert study that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social media are more loyal to those brands.

5. Improved Customer Insights

Social listening gives you an opportunity to gain valuable information on your customers’ interests and behaviors. Furthermore, data-driven analytics provide powerful insights that can help in decision-making when it comes to marketing and targeting audiences.

For Consumers

1. Real-Time Costumer Service

Social media has forced brands to step up their game when it comes to providing customer service. Real-time customer service is in demand, as customers are taking their issues online too.
Social media is the equivalent of putting a giant billboard or playing an ad on TV, so brands should be on their toes all the time to make sure complaints and issues are addressed quickly.

2. Be “In The Know”

These days, simply liking or following a brand’s social media channel will allow you to get first dibs on sales, coupons, and special deals.
Most businesses include you in early-bird sales or give you additional discounts as social media followers, allowing you to save money from buying from these brands.

3. Channel for Customer Feedback

There is no better channel to let your voice be heard than in social media. Research for product development and feedback now includes customers—thanks to the tools incorporated into social media channels such as polls, surveys, chats, Q&As, and many more.

4. A Shift in Power of Brand-Consumer Relationship

There has been a notable shift of power in the brand-consumer relationship as well, as social media has taken the power and control from brands and put it into the hands of the consumers. Advertisements are no longer just a one-way, business-to-customer engagement.

Brand and consumer interaction is encouraged, and for loyalty and advocacy to develop, engagement is needed. Conversations between brands and consumers hold brands accountable for their products and services, as complaints are more oftentimes coursed through public channels.

If consumers are unhappy, they can easily create a social media backlash that can cripple brand reputation.