A Picture Paints A Thousand Words: Study Shows Images Lead To Greater Social Media Traction.

Do you need to spend endless hours thinking of interesting and helpful things to say about your products and services, or use give-aways and gimmicks to maximise the effectiveness of your business’ social media marketing efforts?

Well, if the results of the latest social media survey are anything to go by, then the answer is a definite no. A new study by the IAB Social Media Council found that even small social media interactions between brands and consumers can lead to increased engagement and greater brand loyalty: surprisingly it found that in some instances all that’s required is a simple picture posting of a popular product to boost ROI.

The IAB Social Media Council study, conducted by Marketing Sciences, measured the effectiveness of social media marketing and the return on investment for three FMGC brands, Heinz, Kettle Chips and Twinings. The researchers administered an online survey of 4,500 consumers exposed to the brands on social media channels: they then followed this up with 800 research panel interviews. IAB found that 9 out of 10 of the study’s participants would recommend a brand to friends after interacting with it on social media channels.

How does that translate into better return on investment you’re probably wondering?

Well, Kettle Chips’ experience indicated that there was a 21 point difference between those exposed to the brand on social media and those who weren’t. The study’s findings showed that 80% of participants said they would be more inclined to buy a brand more often in the future after being exposed to a brand’s social media presence, while 83% of consumers would go on to trial the brand’s product.

The study also concluded that any business wanting to turn consumers from one-off customers into brand advocates, should post regularly and not be afraid to embrace the medium. It’s all well and good saying that, but where’s the evidence? Well, Marketing Sciences found that for the three business concerned, every £1 spent on social media promotion resulted in £3.34 in repeat sales. Now those figures may seem small, but if businesses are shifting products in volume, as is clearly the case with Heinz, Kettle Chios and Twinings, then these are very healthy returns indeed.

How do you get fans of your products to recommend your brand or products?

Well, in the opinion of Kristin Brewe, chair of the IAB’s Social Media Council, it all depends: there are no hard and fast rules, and audiences vary depending on the products concerned. But her general advice is simply to produce quality products that people want to buy, and then leave them to it:

“Stay out of the way of your fans. Fans of Kettle, Heinz and Twinings products are fans for a reason: the product in question. So, pictures of products – taken by the brands or those submitted by the fans – seem to work really well.”

So in future businesses don’t have to rely on give-aways and gimmicks to build brand loyalty, they simply have to concentrate on what they do best – providing a quality products that people want to buy:

“Showcase what people love about you. Provide a platform where they can also share what they love about you: quite often that’s a picture of crisps and dips, beans on toast or a steaming cuppa.”

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