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The Addictive Nature of Social Media: How Can Brands Benefit?

While social media is a useful tool that businesses can implement into their respective marketing models and outreach efforts, there are certain drawbacks that come with the use of social media for individuals. Some of the same aspects of social media that make it beneficial for businesses and brands make it potentially dangerous or even harmful for the average user.


The use of social media revolves around supporting and validating others through interactions that communicate your approval of something shared, such as likes and retweets. These forms of communication drive the desire and motivation for both companies and people to share content on their pages that highly appeal to others. If their content is enjoyable for their specific audience or follower-base, their likelihood of receiving likes or retweets increases.

According to the Global Web Index’s 2017 flagship report on the latest trends in social media, 98% of digital consumers are social media users and over half of digital consumers are following brands on social media, a testament to the inherent interest people have in brands and their actions.


Appealing to target audiences, aiming to increase your reach and ultimately ensuring that audiences are satisfied with what you produce are basic principles of marketing that should be adhered to for success.


GWI social summary

How to take advantage of the increase of Social Media Use?

In aiming to please audiences, brands and businesses on social media can use the fact that audiences seem to be experiencing addiction to social media platforms to their advantage, especially considering the fact that over 2.62 billion people worldwide use social media:

  • Updating business’ social media pages frequently and catering messages to audiences is likely to at least increase traffic to any given page.
  • 25% of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 say that seeing a brand or product being “liked” or endorsed on social media by someone in their network is a purchase driver, while 13% from this same age demographic say seeing a “buy” button on social media is a purchase driver.
  • With these statistics in mind, including a direct method of buying a product on social media is one step businesses can take to turn widespread avid social media use into a financially beneficial factor for their business.

For brands, high engagement rates are indicative of a brand having successfully reached their target audience and having established a positive relationship. All companies strive to reach this point, though many struggle to. Though average users implement strategies of their own to increase their engagement, such as posting at a certain time or posting specific types of content, there is the additional aspect of engagement being a loose reflection of financial success for businesses and brands. Businesses can time their posts to coincide with heavy traffic times on social media platforms to increase sales and engagement as well.


According to a Global Social Media Research Summary conducted by Smart Insights in 2018, Facebook continues to be the social media platform most widely used in most countries across the world, followed by Instagram by a large margin. This study predicts that the reign of Facebook will continue for years to come, as it is still the fastest growing social network. Other platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat are experiencing major growth, and have been characterized as networks to watch.

Daily time spent on social networking by internet users worldwide from 2012 to 2017 (in minutes)

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 12.55.00 PM

Social media platforms continue to implement features that make it increasingly difficult for average users to stop using apps, such as the invention of infinite scrolling and the like button. The existence of such features encourage continued usage and work to the advantage of businesses and brands on social media, whether or not the best interest of the average consumer is being kept in mind.

How can companies take advantage of this addictive nature of social media?

  1. Understand how users interact with brands on social media platforms

  2. Include a “buy” button on products advertised on their social media platforms

  3. Post at typically busy times on social media

  4. Strike a balance of when to post & keep it consistent

  5. Use a variety of social media platforms to interact with their audiences, prioritizing Facebook