Brands can sometimes underestimate social media interactions. During the holiday season, consumers' interactions on social networks can heavily influence consumer-purchasing behaviors.

Brands tend to neglect social media to drive holiday gift purchases

Mr Youth, a New York based marketing agency focusing on Gen Y marketing and trends, has recently conducted an online survey on social media interactions and especially on consumer purchasing tendencies. This survey, which focused exclusively on Facebook and Twitter – therefore excluding Google+ – shows that social media interaction with friends, family and brands directly affect users’ decisions about holiday gift purchases.

Social media interactions convert into gift purchases during holidays

The study shows that users are highly influenced by social media when purchasing gifts during the holiday season. 93% of social media users shared or received a recommendation on Facebook, and 22% through Twitter. Also, those recommendations are very likely to lead to an actual gift purchase: 65% of users’ recommendations led to a purchase, while only 33% of non-users’ recommendations let to a purchase. This means recommendations on gifts purchases on social media are twice as likely to convert into actual purchases than recommendations outside social media.

Brands do not pay so much attention to social media interactions

Given this context, the study points out that brands tend to neglect their consumers on social media since they ignore nearly 50% of consumers' Facebook posts. Brands are more likely to respond to consumers on Twitter  (61%) than on Facebook (55%). As a matter of fact, the study suggests brands should be more careful about responding to social media users: 80% of users “who received a response to their post made a purchase as a result of the interaction”. Also, consumers react pretty well to brands that proactively reach out to them – 28% of those consumers say they made a purchase as a result of this interaction.  The Mr Youth infographics suggest that brands underestimate the potential of customer interaction on social media as an actual driver for gift purchases: 36% of users trust brands that have a social media presence than brands they do not.

By Delphine Prediger