Close this search box.

The social media opportunity for retailers: study

This is an archived article - we have removed images and other assets but have left the text unchanged for your reference

More than a quarter of shoppers say that brands that are active on social media are more human, a new study suggests.

Because they have real conversations with customers online, they appear more approachable and helpful, say 29% of respondents to a recent study from Trustpilot.

Almost a third (31%) said they trusted brands more when the company has conversations with people on social media. One in five (20%) check a brand’s social media presence when they are thinking about making their first purchase with the company.

However, the type of social presence a brand has, and the type of content it shares is also important, the research suggested. It looked into the ways in which brands interact on social media, particularly focussing on paid-for versus organic content.

Overwhelmingly, it found, customers prefer organic content. Almost a quarter (24%) said they trusted companies who grow their social media audience by interacting with people, while a similar number (23%) say they don’t trust companies who advertise on social media in order to grow their network. Only 16% of people say they pay attention to content that brands pay for on social media.

The findings come amid an increasing appetite from brands to understand the impact of digital marketing, particularly on social media. Facebook is reported to have recently launched new measurement tools for businesses to assess how effective online ads are at increasing in-store visits.

Digital behavioural scientist Dr Jillian Ney said the results suggested that social advertising was seen as a sales tool, and was less likely to be trusted and accepted by consumers. “On the other hand, organic content seems to be helping customers determine the service characteristics of brands and their communities, helping them to reduce purchase risk,” she said. “Brands need to understand what content and triggers consumers want to see from social content and plan accordingly – they need to have the right conversations.”

James Westlake, UK VP at Trustpilot, said: “Trust is fundamental to all businesses in order to drive customer loyalty and to attract new customers. As digital technology becomes increasingly prominent in consumers’ lives, it’s important for businesses to assess how to expand their online presence to increase trust in their brands.

“Our research clearly highlights that for many people, brands active on social media are more trustworthy than those who aren’t. This is unsurprising as platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube increase visibility and understanding of a brand’s reputation and offer. It’s also clear that increasingly, people prefer to see organic content. There are many ways businesses can deliver valuable, engaging content for their social media network, such as sharing online customer reviews. Customers will talk about your brand online, it’s definitely worth being part of the conversation.”

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on