In this day and age, it’s no secret that social media is an essential staple to any business. It’s one of the most efficient ways to reach your target audience, it’s a channel for open dialogue and real-time communication, and it empowers brands to showcase their personality and values in such an authentic way. So you might be thinking, “Why is my social media strategy not generating the calculated response we hoped for?”
While social media functions as a superpower for brands, it’s so important to remember that meeting your audience where they are trumps whatever objectives you may define internally. Your success is based on the input and response, or lack thereof, of your consumer base, so you really have to innovate with your target audience in mind. Whatever message you’re trying to send will not matter if your consumer base isn’t interested in hearing (or reading) what you have to say. Sprout Social, a leading social media management company, recently conducted a study exploring this disconnect between brands and consumers. The underlying realization at the heart of the study? “What brands believe consumers want from them on social media doesn’t quite line up with what consumers actually want from them on social media.”
According to Adweek, the social media powerhouse coordinated interviews with over 2,000 social marketers, gathered information in regards to their “structure, goals, and content,” and then compared the answers to the feedback they gathered from consumers.
Not surprisingly, Sprout Social found that most agencies prioritize: informative/educational content (61 percent), compelling storytelling (58 percent), and content that ultimately inspires the audience (53 percent). On the other hand, consumers reportedly value: discounts and sales (72 percent), new product/service alerts (60 percent), and informative/educational posts (59 percent).
Sprout responded with the following observation: “The sole overlap between top marketing priorities and consumer preferences is posts that teach. If you aren’t already, meet consumers in this sweet spot in the consideration stage. This content takes consumers a step beyond knowing who you are, to knowing what you do and what space you are a part of or an expert in.”
Adweek shared additional findings from this study. Read below to learn more from Sprout Social Index 2018:
- Consumers are 13 percent more likely to engage with entertaining brand content than to share it with their audiences.
- Consumers are equally likely to engage with and share inspirational content.
- Consumers are 31 percent more likely to engage with storytelling content than to share it.
- Consumers are 24 percent more likely to engage with promotions and deals than to share them.
- Consumers are 150 percent more likely to engage with employee advocacy posts than to share them.
- Consumers are 90 percent more likely to engage with posts that showcase company personality and announce company happenings than they are to share them with friends on social.
- Consumers are 50 percent more likely to engage with posts showcasing new products and offerings than to share them.
Another compelling insight resembles why social media can be such a powerful tool for marketers. The team at Sprout reports, “When a customer reaches out with a question—their No. 1 reason for reaching out on social—use this as an opportunity to form a relationship, not just resolve an issue.”
As noted at the beginning of this post, it’s important to implement strategies that meet your customers where they’re at. While marketers have internal demands to meet, such as ROI, customer service, generating sales, etc., loyal and satisfied consumers are always the key the meeting those defining objectives.