Social media appeared to mature in 2020, as the need to digitalise was thrust upon organisations in almost every sector. Social got ‘serious’, proving itself to be a legitimate communications platform for any business, from the zaniest, quirkiest consumer brand to established companies in old-school sectors. Despite some inevitable negative press, relating mostly to COVID-related misinformation spread through platforms like Facebook and Instagram, social reminded us that it is a force for good. New platforms came into being, and existing ones bridged the gap with social shopping, facilitated charitable giving, and kept spirits up at a testing time. Social media showed its real-world impact.
Savvy organisations know that lockdown or no lockdown, social media is the most powerful communications tool around. Brands that don’t use it, and don’t use it well, fall behind.
Consumer electronics brands are no exception, and they took on special importance during lockdown. Unable to leave our homes for anything except exercise or essential goods, we depended heavily on computers, tablets, phones, consoles and televisions to work, learn, communicate, and entertain ourselves. These items, even if they can be misused or overused (like any powerful tool) became a kind of scaffolding, keeping certain aspects of our lives continuous and ‘normal’ while everything changed around us.
But for businesses in that space to take advantage of this they must embrace the power of social to its fullest. It remains the most important weapon in a brand's arsenal for communicating the values of that brand and the benefits of its products and services. Social is essential to driving sales now and in the future. Consumer electronics businesses, must keep communicating.
What social does best is allow for a real, deep understanding of the communities a brand wants to address and the conversations those communities are having. It allows brands to engage in a, ‘human’ way with those communities and develop a relationship with them that may be digital, but is still authentic and reciprocal. If used in the right way, social media leads to powerful real-world outcomes that go well beyond sales. Deep behaviour change, entertainment, education—all this is made possible through social alone. And this is why social media is taking a higher percentage of marketing spend than ever: it works.
A majority of social users use platforms to research new products. Over 90 percent of Instagram users follow a business, for instance, and more than four out of five use it to discover new products and services. A huge 87 percent said they took a specific action (such as making a purchase) after seeing product information on that platform. YouTube, the second-largest search engine globally, and has become the second most popular channel for businesses sharing video content. All platforms, from Facebook to TikTok, offer value in distinct ways.
To get the most out of social, brands need to be clear about what they are trying to achieve. Their goals will determine not just how much to invest in social media, but what platforms to focus on, what content to share, and what data to gather. It will determine whether they intend to launch big campaigns or post a drumbeat of content, or both. And that’s why agencies like the tree exist: to hold the hands of businesses—in consumer electronics and other industries—and help them to take advantage of social to develop stronger brands and get their products and services out to the people who want them.