Many consumers claim businesses with strong social presences are more appealing than those absent from the channel.

A report from AYTM Market Research found that 58.3 percent of consumers follow or otherwise engage brands on social networks. The study also found that 10 percent said social marketing content shared by companies regularly impacts their purchase decisions.

Forty percent of respondents said they are more likely to buy from businesses that maintain social presences. While 60 percent said a brand’s social activity does not directly impact their purchase decisions, the growing number of consumers that use social in their research demonstrates the increased value in the channel.

Using social media marketing can be a strong way for companies bolster different elements of internet presence. Sharing website content with followers can fuel more site traffic through social, and responding to customer service inquires will improve a brand’s reputation on the web. Moreover, 62.8 percent of AYTM respondents said they have the community of fellow brand followers accessible through social campaigns is valuable. Essentially, seeing questions posed by other consumers or announcements from other businesses on social has made it easier for consumers to make purchases.

For businesses, social media marketing can also help other web campaigns, especially SEO. Brafton recently reported, for example, that Bing has integrated social data directly onto its SERPs to help consumers use social referrals to find the results most relevant to their queries.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.