With nearly 90 percent of consumers regularly accessing social media, the channel's value cannot be understated.

Eighty-seven percent of consumers in the U.S. access at least one social network regularly, and more than 50 percent do so from a smartphone or a tablet, according to a study from eVoc Insights.

The growing reliance on multi-platform social networks can help marketers relying on the channel reach more users and expand their social media marketing strategies. EVoc reported that 94 percent of those using social media are on Facebook, but many regularly access Twitter, Google+ or another network.

An especially useful finding of the study was that the average Facebook user has 130 friends on the network and interacts in some way with 80 different community pages. According to eVoc, 59 percent of consumers have Liked a Facebook page in the last six months. For these users, the appeal of the organization they interact with increases with exclusive content and offers aimed solely at fans. Fifty-four percent said they would be more likely to make a purchase with a company after Liking their Facebook page.

Sixty-six percent said they are looking for special offers or coupons when they Like a page on Facebook. Some businesses are hesitant to use these methods, but the lasting effects of a strong social presence, which may start with coupons and other offers, are undeniable.

Brafton recently reported that 27 percent of businesses believe social media marketing is the best way to retain customers. Offering discounts to Facebook fans can help, but it is hardly the only way the channel helps with loyalty. Leveraging social to improve customer service with active engagement is as important as discounts in the long run.

Joe Meloni

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.