Social media is deeply threatening to a company’s brand loyalty

Brand loyalty and social media’s relationship weren’t meant to be. In today’s age, consumers can easily cut through the lies, make snarky opinions and complete derogatory post criticisms on their smartphones. They can curse a company out on Twitter. They can search Google for names of other companies and see information similar to the reports used in their job application process.

Approach Brand Loyalty As Social Loyalty

In 2015, a Pew Research Center study found that 53 percent of smartphone users log on to social media while talking on the phone and 55 percent say they never unplug. Granted, some of that is due to BlackBerry Messenger, which isn’t exactly a desirable smartphone. But on other platforms like Facebook, the average person goes on about a third of their conversations on social media, and 92 percent of those conversations are to engage with others.

Aside from perpetuating brand confusion by not taking the initiative to check out competitors, social media can also drive people away from an organization. A study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science found that people who repeatedly shared negative comments about brands online are more likely to avoid them in the real world. Worse, they weren’t just checking out what other people were saying about companies. They were also attending fewer events and getting less positive feedback. What’s worse, they said that Brand Loyalty Hurt Them: It affected their ability to appreciate and form connections with other brands. (I’m not making that up.)

Approach Brand Loyalty As Social Loyalty

As the definition of loyalty becomes more ambiguous, we see companies emphasizing the “social” side of the brand. Some are opting to get into the virtual world of social media conversations.

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