Phototouch Blog

The Customer in 2016— Communicate and Engage Your Social-Smart Customers

It’s no secret that the present day consumer learns and engages on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and more. When looking at the numbers, the average user spends 1.72 hours a day on their social accounts. Because of this huge chunk of time consumers spend on social channels, it only makes sense for businesses to examine which consumers spend time on which networks, and how they are spending their time.

More importantly, what can marketers discover about how the consumer acts towards certain brands based on their online activity. Do consumers log onto multiple networks at once? Do they start on one network and shift to another during their purchases? The solution is to find where the consumers are and serve them the perfect information at the perfect time that will steer them toward buying your company’s product.

The Customer in 2016

Nowadays, the customer journey begins with self-discovery, and this often begins on social media. When a consumer walks into a retail store to purchase a laptop, they have already done tons of homework—looking at reviews online and determining what their friends, family and even stranger about the product on social media. The salesperson may try to push a product onto the customer, but the customer isn’t going in blind. This makes a difference in the selling process.

To really grasp the customer journey, marketers must understand which social networks their target audience is spending their time on and what type of research they are conducting there. Smart companies will turn that knowledge into use by being on those networks and engaging their audience.

While there are many social networks to consider when doing this type of customer research, the following the networks are ones to pay close attention to because they continue to shift the consumer field:


With almost 1.6 billion monthly active users, it is clear that many brands’ potential customers are spending a significant time on Facebook. Marketers have a couple of options of how to create content that engages.

The good news is that are tools available to help marketers understand how their customers are engaging on this popular channel. For example, Datashift, a company that specializes in mining for citizen-generated data, recently partnered with Facebook, allowing marketers to see what audiences are saying about certain brands and companies, while keeping personal information private. Marketers can compile this data to reveal trends and discover insights about their target audience.


Even though Facebook has a massive user base, Snapchat’s users are incredibly active. In fact, Snapchat – a social network that allows users to take and send photos and videos that disappear in 10 seconds or less – has 30 million active monthly users who are currently sending and receiving 400 million messages each day.

While still a newbie among giants, Snapchat has managed to acquire a huge number of users, however, the network makes is relatively difficult for marketers to analyze interactions between users.  Marketers can currently send a snap about a brand, allowing a customer to open it up and view it, but the app doesn’t have a third party analytics tool that can measure how content performs. This leaves marketers to analyze data in a rudimentary way. For example, marketing managers who are running SnapChat campaigns may track the number of people who opened a snap, who took a screenshot, and the number who responded with a direct message.


Instagram has seen explosive growth recently, as consumers are signing up to be on the channel by the millions. This social network’s main function is photo and video sharing on the Instagram app itself, as well as on other social networks like Facebook (which owns Instagram).

A huge difference between Instagram and other networks is that Instagram doesn’t offer different types of accounts for business – consumer users and business accounts are all the same. To combat this, marketers often link a landing page or website in their account bio, allowing them to source leads, lets users explore more content, and even collect entries for contests.

While Facebook, SnapChat and Instagram may be social networks where your customers are spending time, there may be other places the like to communicate with your brand. Are they actively pinning on Pinterest? Are they sharing Tweets on Twitter? Smart marketers know that successful engagement with consumers begins with knowing where their target audience spends their time on social media, and bringing the content to them.


If you’re still having trouble engaging your customers through social, our photo advertising solutions can help expand your business’ social media reach and engagement. Read about our past successes and contact us to get started.