Our partner Sprout Social surveyed more than 1,000 social marketers and more than 1,000 consumers with the goal to understand how social media can provide the most value to brands. Here are the five topics I think you need to know you should know about from the latest Sprout Social Index.
The Value of Social Continues to Grow
Data shows the popularity of social only continues to grow, for both brands and consumers. Facebook continues to be the market leader overall, but it’s important to remember how specific audiences use different social platforms. For instance, while 77% of Generation X says Facebook is their primary platform for liking or following brands, 69% of Generation Z says Instagram is their platform of choice. Regardless of the network, a majority of people who follow brands on social are likely to visit those brands’ websites and physical stores, recommend those brands to friends and family, choose those brands over competitors and spend more with them. This is especially true of Millennials: 84% said they’re more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social compared to one they don’t. So, basically, social media is a big deal right now and is only getting bigger. If you want to grow your brand, you should consider the platform your target audience uses most.
Brand Awareness is a Top Priority
While most brands say increasing brand awareness is their #1 goal, the majority are focused on metrics associated with engagement. Only 41% of social marketers focus on amplification and brand awareness metrics. Metrics such as reach and impressions – in other words, the number of eyeballs seeing branded content – are more important to brand awareness than engagement metrics such as likes and comments. There appears to be a disconnect for many brands regarding what social metrics to measure and how.
Consumers Demand Responsive Care
Consumers follow brands on social to learn more about their offerings, be entertained, and generally stay up to date on what’s new, but they tend to unfollow them because of poor customer service. Failing to provide responses also leads to more “unfollows.” In fact, 29% of consumers unfollow brands on social due to ignored posts and mentions. The majority of consumers will like, comment on and share entertaining and inspirational content, but they’ll leave brands behind if they experience underwhelming customer care. To sum up, DON’T underestimate the power of a simple response on social media! If you are curious about improving your response and customer care on social media, you should explore how Chatbots can help deliver fast, reliable customer care.
Authenticity Matters more than Celebrity
Celebrities and influencers can help brands boost awareness and interest among consumers, but authentic posts from company leaders and employees are more impactful. In fact, the use of influencers to help sell products can sometimes backfire and cause consumers to stop following a brand altogether (think Nike and Colin Kaepernick). That’s why nearly three-quarters of all social marketers use their employees as social media advocates. Employees make great brand advocates just ask Zendesk and the City of Las Vegas. Employee advocacy programs are an awesome way to grow your social media presence and brand, but they can also be hard to get started. That’s where these new employee advocacy ideas come in! If you’re worried about finding the right celebrity or influencer to represent your brand, don’t worry anymore and give your employees the chance to represent you.
Plenty of Business
More than half of C-level marketers and one-third of VPs say proving the value of social to teams outside of marketing remains a challenge. Beyond sales, 76% of social marketers don’t share social data with their product and R&D departments. Not applying social learnings to departments outside marketing is a huge missed opportunity for brands, as the insights obtained through social can help optimize everything from sales tactics to product development. To learn just how much social listening can benefit your brand, check out these case studies: James Hardie and VTWO.