Sprout Social has released it's latest social media research report, this time looking at the impact social platforms have had on how we share personal updates - and how such updates are subsequently influencing purchase behavior.
First up, In what will come as little surprise, Sprout found that 79% of people now view social media as the preferred option for sharing life milestones with their friends and family.
That likely rings true with most social media users – now that we’re connected to our extended family and friendship groups on social, we’re able to share our latest news updates far and wide within a few simple clicks.
And the impact of that behavioral shift is significant - you’ve no doubt heard of the rise of word-of-mouth, the power of recommendations from friends and family. This stat alone underlines why WOM has become so prominent in the social media era - previously, you’d not have had access to your uncle’s opinion on the latest political news, or your old school friend’s thoughts on a new product.
Given our preference for social media as a connective tool, the influence of such recommendations is amplified, and while Sprout’s observation here relates to life milestones specifically, it goes without saying that the extension of that is that consumers are paying increased attention to such platforms, and with Facebook putting more emphasis on personal interactions to boost engagement, its fairly clear that there’s big potential in utilizing this shift to fuel your brand messaging.
If you can do it.
Indeed, breaking down the data even further, Sprout notes that 94% of the more than 1200 respondents indicated that Facebook was their platform of choice for sharing personal updates, followed by Instagram (39%) and Snapchat (27%).
Given this, Sprout highlights that there may be significant brand opportunity – furthering their initial findings, Sprout also asked respondents how likely it would be that they would consider including a brand mention in a post about a life milestone or similar.
As you can see, people are more likely to be open to brand mentions in celebratory posts, with travel, personal achievements and family updates seeing the highest likelihood of brand association.
This makes sense – in holiday posts, people might be more inclined to share details of where they stayed and the places they visited. Personal achievements, too, could include mentions of, say, a new purchase as a result, or a sponsored prize. The trick, for brands, is to then take that understanding and consider how they can tie their marketing message into such events in order to utilize the power of these recommendations to broaden their reach.
Adding more consideration to this, you also need to consider why people want to share.
Sharing the celebration with your broader social network is the key motivation listed by survey participants, which is another consideration for any UGC-focused campaign. How can your business be part of the celebration? What can you do inspire your customers to want to inform their connections?
As noted, with Facebook, in particular, putting more and more emphasis on personal interactions (over brand posts) in the News Feed, this could soon become an even more important element. Worth considering how such behaviors relate to your campaigns.
Sprout also notes some of the key reasons why consumers would consider including a brand in posts about such milestones.
And what they’re seeking in response.
There are some fairly clear promotional pathways being mapped out here, with discounts and brand mentions high on the list. And the impacts are also growing.
There are some great insights in the latest Sprout Index, some key considerations as to the benefits of UGC, and how, exactly, the process works from a consumer standpoint. It’s not necessarily easy to inspire a user-content flow within your marketing stream, but such efforts, increasingly, look to be paying off, and providing new opportunities for a range of brands.
You can read the full Q4 2017 Sprout Social Index report here.