As of July 2018, there are 3.096 billion social media users, out of the 7.6 billion people inhabiting our planet. Social media use is exploding: Facebook has over 2b monthly active users (MAUs), Instagram recently reached 1 billion, and Twitter has 335 million.
With a significant proportion of the world’s population hanging out on social media, brands are increasing their social media marketing spend. Companies currently spend 12% of their marketing budgets on social media. This increase is expected to accelerate to reach 20.5% of the budget in the next five years.
For B2C marketers, Facebook is the leading marketing platform of choice (97%), followed by Instagram (72%), and Twitter (62%). And nearly 60% of B2C companies report that social media helps increase their revenue and sales.
Although social media provides the opportunity to drive sales, it can also waste time and money if you don’t give consumers what they want. In this article, we’re answering the question: “what do consumers want to see on social media channels” and dropping some tips on how to meet their expectations.
Fast Response Times
While consumers love to see shade “wars” on social media, 78% of them just want you to be helpful and resolve complaints or answer questions. However, responding to consumers on social media isn’t enough. 48% of respondents value a quick response on social media above any other action a brand could.
Eptica polled 1,000 consumers on how long they were willing to wait when they connected with various channels. 85% of consumers using Facebook expect an answer within six hours and 64% of consumers using Twitter look for a reply within an hour. Despite the above statistics, it takes brands an average of 11 hours to send responses to consumers on social media.
Being a slow coach has negative consequences. Conversocial reports that 83% of customers have stopped purchasing altogether after seeing poor (or non-existent) customer service via social media. On the other hand, a study conducted NM Incite, found out that 71% of customers who encounter speedy response times recommended that specific brand to other people.
Despite the sluggishness of some online brands, a few excel in their replies and response times. Target responds to every tweet and gives every consumer who contacts them for support a detailed response on social media.
To deliver exceptional social customer care, help social care agents become more responsive by investing in advanced social listening tools that give them instant access to customer conversations and brand mentions. Prescriptive Analytics could also be helpful in automating routine tasks so your agents can focus on handling more complex social media interactions that require empathy and personalization.
Your Take on Social and Political Issues
Consumers are becoming more open about their political views, and they want you to carry placards with them. Data from the 2017 Edelman Earned Brand report that surveyed 14,000 consumers across five continents, found that 57% of consumers say they buy or boycott brands based on the brand’s stance on a social or political issue. 65% of ‘belief-driven’ buyers will not buy a brand if it stays silent on an issue they feel that it has an obligation to formally address.
If you’ve been sitting on the fence when it comes to politics or social issues, these statistics show it’s time to stand up for your cause. And one place consumers expect to see your stance is on social media. In fact, 58%, are receptive to political or social stances from brands on social media more than any other platform.
However, while taking a stand can help you build a stronger relationship with customers, and positively affect your bottom line, (brands that stand for something gain 10x more than bystanders), your approach can easily go wrong. Here are a few things you should know before you get involved in social and political issues on social media, courtesy of Starbucks.
Be Authentic: Consumers say brands are most credible when an issue directly impacts their customers (47%), employees (40%) and business operations (31%). Therefore, it’s only wise to get involved in issues you really care about. As a coffee chain Starbucks partners with Conservation International to buy 100% ethically sourced coffee from farmers. So, its dedication is for real.
Commitment Counts: You can’t support a cause today and forget about it tomorrow. So, before you publicly take on a cause, be sure it’s something you can commit to. In 2013, Starbucks committed to hiring 10,000 Veterans and Military spouses by November 2018. According to the brand’s website, they reached that goal in March 2017 and pledge to increase that number to 25,000 by 2025.
Know Your Customer Base: When Starbucks pledged to hiring 10,000 refugees in its global stores, there was a high chance their customer base would have supported their initiative, considering the fact that individuals under the age of 40 (which constitutes about half of their customers) are likely to have liberal views. The moral of this short story is that while you can support any cause, involvement in issues your targeted audience cares about is key in winning their loyalty.
Taking a socially conscious stand is a powerful way to connect with consumers on a deeper level and increase brand loyalty. When you support causes you and your customer base believe in and live your beliefs, you’ll be rewarded with hearts and pockets.
Content to Help Them Make Up Their Minds
It’s not enough to post content on social media just to appear active. Your post should intentionally align with each stage of the buyer journey. Research from Aberdeen Group reveals that marketers who align content with specific points in the customer journey yield 73% higher conversion rates.
While memes and GIFs are cool, consumers want to see social media content that supports the consideration stage of their buying journey. 73% of consumers want links to discounts and sales, posts that showcase new products and services (60%) and posts that teach them something (59%). Marketers, however, share mostly posts that teach something (61%) posts that tell a story (58%) and posts that inspire (53%).
Clearly, marketers and consumers aren’t on the same page with the exception of their thoughts on educational content. One brand that seems to be in tune with what consumers want on social media is ASOS.
With over 20 million followers on social media, the brand has mastered the art of using social media to build a relationship with consumers and nudge them to check out their merchandise. Creating 60,000 pieces of content every month, the British online brand blesses the timeline of its social media followers with discounts and sales posts, new product alerts and bitesize educational content.
ASOS’s smart use of social media is clearly working. According to the company’s interim results, retail sales were up 27% in the six monthsleading up to February 2018, while its active customer base grew 17% to 16.5 million. Group revenues increased by 27% to £1.16bn, while profit before tax was up 10% to £29.9m.
How do you use consideration content without falling over yourself? The good folks from Sprout Social suggest weaving awareness and consideration stage content (i.e opening the door with entertainment and inspiration, then carrying audiences across the threshold with education) with information about new product offerings, discounts, and sales.
Consideration stage content takes consumers from knowing your company to getting them hooked on your brand.
It’s Not About You
The age of the consumer brings the customers’ ability to kick you out of their social media feeds if they don’t like what you’re up to. To remain in the good books of your audience, dig into your social media data to uncover insights and continuously find new ways of connecting with them. Constantly monitor how social media platforms are changing and experiment with new and emerging e-commerce options. Profit is what drives businesses, so clarify your ROI and how social affects the bottom line.