Social Media: A shift in the consumer market?

Share Article:

Social media has grown in importance as a tool for businesses to connect with their clients, with the Covid-19 pandemic turbocharging this transition to online business communication. According to Avocado Social reporting, since January 2020, usage of social media has increased by 13% or 490 million users.

Though we are not shocked to see this increase, there are questions about how consumer behaviour has changed since the pandemic started and what companies should be doing on ever-competitive social media platforms to boost their business. Let’s take a look.

What should businesses watch out for?

The biggest change to the UK’s social media world is, of course, TikTok. The platform has been shaping the consumer market and there have been no signs of it slowing down, with TikTok being “downloaded over 1m times a month in the UK.

In line with this, businesses are turning to TikTok; however, it is still unclear how its algorithm works. The platform has recently started paid advertising, allowing businesses to reach customers by targeting their desired audience.

Overall, global social media ad spend was up 50.3% year-on-year at the height of the 2020 Christmas season. It has been noted that most industries invested a substantial amount more during the last quarter of 2020, except for accommodation which has been affected heavily by the pandemic.

While paying for social media adverts will help your engagement levels, getting a customer’s attention and maintaining it is becoming more and more difficult. The world of social media is a competitive playground. Having a brand that can resonate with its clients, will always be more successful.

How has this affected the consumer market?

As we all know, there has been an acceleration to online shopping, in some cases, out of necessity. The pandemic led to businesses having to change their strategy so that they were able to meet the needs of customers while having face to face interaction on hold.

IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Results reveal that UK online sales grew 74% year-on-year in January 2021, which is the largest rate of growth since the start of the first lockdown in March 2020. This is highly unusual, as customers often need to financially recover after a large spending spree over the Christmas period.

While this does not apply to all businesses, the growing importance of social media hasn’t just been about the physical purchase of products or services. In a report, the Digital 2021: Global review, researching products to buy was one of the top primary reasons for people using social media, with 28% of UK users using social media to research brands.

This indeed highlights the importance of maintaining and updating social media profiles for businesses. With browsing online rather than in-store becoming the new normal, businesses need to ensure that the quality of their content makes the whole buying process from researching to buying, as seamless as possible.

So, what should businesses take from this?

If there are three things that can be learnt from this, it would be:

1) Social media is constantly growing, changing, and adapting. Companies are paying more than ever for social media advertisements and this is changing the way businesses interact with their customers. Social media platforms are able to utilise user information to attract and target the right customers for a business.

Action Steps:

- Certain age groups and demographics are drawn to different social media platforms. Do your research, check that you are on the right platforms and targeting the right audience.

- Create content that matches the platform as well as your business tone of voice.

- Research before you do social media advertising. You don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to reach the right audience.

2) Customers are looking on social media for products and services. With the vast range of consumer content, social media platforms have become a prime destination for researching and buying new products. As there are 4.66 billion people worldwide are using social media, brands need to be a part of this growing trend if they want to develop.

Action steps:

- Perform a social media audit across all of your accounts and track your performance.

- Check that all your company’s logos, banners, and handles are consistent and ensure that they meet your brand guidelines.

- Set up a free account with a social media scheduling tool, such as

Hootsuite, and prepare engaging content regularly. Discuss your business products, show off your glowing reviews and engage with potential customers.

3) Technology has, of course, resulted in customers wanting a service quickly, simply and smoothly. A simple customer experience that shows online reviews and a company’s products or services with minimal clicks are tactics that help a business thrive.

Action steps:

- Make sure you have your website visible on all your social media accounts.

- Paste and share your website into social media posts. If you are talking about a specific product or service, make sure you link to your website page giving the user access to more information.

- Important tip: make sure you have included as much business information as possible. Mention the industry you are in, the size of your company, where your headquarters is based, etc. Give your audience all the information they need in one place.

In summary, it’s clear that social media continues to grow and change at a rapid rate. With nearly half of the world’s population using social media platforms, they are certainly the best place to reach new and highly targeted potential customers. As well as increasing brand awareness, generating leads and boosting sales, with the right efforts, social media gives your business the opportunity to interact directly with customers and, likewise give them the chance to interact directly with you.

All News