The team from Sprout Social have released their latest 'Social Index' report, which looks at a range of key trends in social media marketing, and how brands can make best use of social media channels now in order to maximize awareness and connection with consumers.
Sprout's report incorporates responses from over 1k marketers and 1k consumers, in order to provide perspective not only on what people are looking for from brands online, but also, how marketers are currently utilizing social platforms, and their understanding of these same shifts.
You can download the full, 23-page report (with email sign-up) here, but in this post, we'll take a look at some of the key points.
First off, Sprout includes a listing of the key things that consumers are looking for from brands on social, which could provide some additional guidance for your approach.
Customer service is a key focus point, as further highlighted in this chart:
The two key themes here are customer response and engagement, so the message is fairly clear. If you want to make the most of your brand's social media presence, you need to keep the 'social' element in mind, and engage with people, where possible, when they interact with your business.
Social media provides people with a voice, and a means to be heard - and what most want as a result is to know that someone is actually listening. You may not be able to solve every issue and problem, but by simply acknowledging such engagement, and providing customer support and service capacity as required, you could go a long way to helping improve your standing.
Which, going on this next note, is increasingly important:
"Nine out of 10 consumers will buy from brands they follow on social, while 86% will choose that brand over a competitor."
Your social media following is about more than just numbers, and by establishing a clear strategy, in alignment with these points, that could play a key role in boosting your brand, and encouraging purchase activity.
Those actions won't always be direct, which can make them harder to quantify, but the responses here show that engaging, customer service focused brands, which also produce memorable content, will eventually help to influence shopping activity, based on the relationships they build with their target audiences within social apps.
It's also worth noting the extended branding benefits, and impacts, of the same.
People are going to share their opinions about your brand on social, while it's also now the preferred platform for brand queries. Those that have a refined, evolved social strategy, which includes listening, monitoring for key mentions, and providing a responsive, engaged presence, which is also attuned to key trends, will be best placed to capitalize on such, and meet evolving consumer expectations.
Online connection became even more important over the past 12 months, with physical stores shut down, and people seeking ways to stay connected while apart due to COVID-19 restrictions. That's made people more reliant on social platforms, in a range of ways. These insights underline that shift, and now that these behaviors have become even more habitual, it's likely that the same trends will hold as we move on to the next stage.
Definitely worth noting in your social media marketing approach.
There's a heap more insight in Sprout Social's full 'Social Index XVII' report, which you can download here.