Why do people follow brands on social media?

Some 44% of British shoppers follow brands on social media in the hope of receiving discounts and rewards for their loyalty, according to new research.

The 2015 Shopping Barometer from business intelligence group Future Thinking, which monitors the sentiments of over 1,200 consumers, found that 26% of respondents follow retailers on social media. The biggest group of users following brands on social media are under-35s (60%), followed closely by families (59%) and women (51%).

Facebook and Twitter are the most popular platforms, while 32% of UK shoppers say they use social media platforms to seek advice or leave an opinion about a product or brand.

Noreen Kinsey, head of shopper insight at Future Thinking, said: "Despite the well-documented buzz around rapid advances in technology, including delivery drones and mobile payments, it is interesting to see that this hype is not generally reflected amongst consumers.

"The biggest opportunity for consumers and retailers appears to be on social media, where users are engaging in the hope of receiving discounts, and retailers can employ more effective marketing to a captive audience.

"When it comes to loyalty schemes in the traditional sense, their prevalence renders them less than special. Retailers need to be more relevant in order to connect to consumers on social media as there is a huge market out there for these sorts of incentives."

Future Thinking's research also looked into other shopper behaviour, and it found that the most popular new technology is card-only checkouts in supermarkets - with 69% of shoppers saying they would use self-serving checkout technology. More than half of the survey respondents said they would use click & collect services.

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Future Thinking