When it comes to social media marketing, there's a lot of misinformation, and a ton of unrealistic expectations set as a result. Luckily, marketers are blessed with a massive amount of data from social media activity, so we can course correct misnomers which may lead to disappointed bosses and upset clients.
A recent study conducted by Sprout Social surveyed both marketers and consumers, in order to help identify key challenges, and offer insights on what users expect when it comes to social media marketing. After all, if your strategy isn’t meeting their needs, it will fall flat.
Here are eight key stats of note from the data, which may help inform your strategic approach.
1. "47% of social media marketers say that developing strategies which support business goals is their top challenge"
First off, I want to be direct in an observation on this point. If you're not strategizing against what matters the most for your business, and working towards achieving that outcome, you're not marketing. You're just “doing the things”.
Too many seem to believe that having an iPhone and access to Instagram are enough to make them marketers. It's not.
The very first step in getting any true business value from social media marketing is understanding exactly what you want to achieve. Do you want more website traffic? Are you pushing to generate leads? Is overall brand awareness important to you?
All of these are critical questions which will help you start developing your strategy.
2. "71% of social media marketers say that they are able to provide consumer insights from social media channels to other departments"
Everything users do on social media channels creates data, and that data is the perfect fuel for almost every aspect of digital marketing.
You can analyze the demographics of an email list by running it through Facebook Audience Insights to better understand a subset of consumers. Want to see more information on the referral traffic visiting your website? Install social pixels and you’ll get it.
3. "77% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media over one they do not"
Since the dawn of social media, people have been statistically more likely to spend money with brands they follow.
Historically, this is because following the brand/s meant that they would see their content, however with the decline of organic reach, and increasing competition in feeds, ads have made following a brand social account less impactful.
Regardless, if you can get people to follow your accounts, they are still significantly more likely to buy from you. Social proof and brand affinity are still important.
4. "67% of consumers say that they are more likely to increase their spending with a brand they follow on social media"
Not only are consumers more likely to buy from brands they follow, they statistically spend more too.
Be sure to grow your communities and nurture them accordingly. With a proper strategy, you'll be able to convert some of those followers into buyers.
5. "50% of consumers follow brands on social to learn about new products or services"
You are kidding yourself if you think people connect with social media pages to be sold to.
A key value of social media marketing is brand discovery, and it turns out that a good chunk of people connect with brands in order to learn more about what they have to offer.
The big recommendation here is to be sure that your social media strategy showcases overall value, and clearly demonstrates how your business make peoples’ lives easier.
The more value-based the content you put out is, the better off you will be.
6. "45% of consumers are more likely to research a product or service when a brand’s employees post about that product or service"
Employee advocacy is a powerful way to amplify your brand, especially on social media.
The data suggests that consumers will investigate a product more if they see an employee of said brand choose to share related content.
Typically speaking, people aren’t overly excited to share “work” content on their social accounts. However, if you can get your workforce excited and in-step with your brand message, there are a lot of opportunities.
7. "40% of social media marketers believe private community groups, like Facebook and LinkedIn Groups, will become more important"
Mark Zuckerberg himself has said that the future of social media - specifically Facebook - will be more private.
With this in mind, it might be a good idea to start looking into more exclusive communities on social media. Facebook has groups that are very active, Messenger continues to gain usage momentum, and even LinkedIn Groups have seen more usage of late.
This shift in behavior could mean opportunity for your brand.
8. "63% of social media marketers believe listening will become more important over the upcoming year"
When it comes to a social media content strategy, many brands are quick to think about what they want to “say” to people - but what about what people have to say about your brand?
Social listening is a great way to tease out consumer insights to fuel strategy, as well as navigate any unseen customer service issues. Most social platforms have some sort of native search within them. However, social media tools like Sprout Social or Hootsuite can help you identify conversation trends that matter to your business.
However, social listening does have a caveat – volume. If there aren’t enough people talking about your brand or a concept related to your brand, it will be hard to get any insight. Start with macular concepts and then work to micro mentions of your brand.
These are some of the key insights from the Sprout Social 'Empower and Elevate' report, which could help improve your social media marketing approach and maximize your efforts.
You can check out the full report for yourself here.