Brands need to be listening to their consumers and constantly adapting to their needs so that we can be giving consumers what they really want.
Luckily, our friends at Sprout Social are keeping their finger on the pulse of industry, in their annual Sprout Social Index, and sharing their findings with marketers to better craft their strategies.
Here are three things they found to consider to ensure that your social strategy is a strong, adaptive plan for your brand and that you give your customers what they really want and need.
1. Establish your social foundation
Sprout’s Social recent insights report noted that 61% of consumers say brands that are best in class on social know how to engage their audiences.
While some brands lean on humour and entertainment to drive higher engagement, what works for one brand won’t always work for another.
The top three reasons consumers follow brands in the first place are to:
- learn about new products or services;
- stay up to date on company news; and
- learn about promotions or discounts.
Social media has brought consumers closer to their favorite brands than ever before, and many shoppers follow their favorite brands to stay up to date with the latest news. Apple, for example, turned to YouTube to announce the newest iPhone model. In 2019, the tech company live-streamed the product reveal for the public for the first time ever, drawing nearly two million viewers. Social media is the perfect platform for brands to launch new products: you can update followers in real-time and consumers can provide brands with direct feedback about their initial impressions.
With that in mind, social marketers should focus on creating engaging content around those subjects, which ladder up to top-level goals.
Your Focus: Social media is often the first place customers will turn to for product and service information. Use that as an opportunity to collect early feedback for product teams, share timely updates about your business, generate leads for sales teams and serve on the frontlines of customer service.
2. Leave the competition in the dust
Both marketers and consumers say creativity is the No. 1 reason a brand’s social presence stands out
There may not be a one-size-fits-all solution to engagement, but both social marketers and consumers agree that a brand’s social media presence stands out from the competition when it is creative. 68% of consumers want to engage with static images and 50% want to engage with video, but brands can maximise creativity by using a healthy mix of other engaging assets like polls, stories and live video.
Social data can help marketers identify what their target audience considers creative so when they launch their next social campaign, they can be sure it stands out on buyers’ social feeds.
Take for example Nike. The key to Nike’s success—which any brand can emulate—is intimately knowing their target audience. Sneakerheads are always on the lookout for the big releases and use social media to stay informed of when and where the next “drop” will take place. Social data can help marketers paint a clear picture of who their customer is, detailing how they use social media and what types of content holds their attention. With this information, brands can develop creative campaigns that engage their core audience and leverage social media to drive specific consumer behaviours.
Your Focus: In addition to your current data, social media marketers can further validate what creative elements work for their goals with creative testing. Begin creative testing to assess which images, videos, copy combinations and more will engage your customers and which will drive them away.
3. Think, speak and act like your customers
50% of consumers say they’re most likely to use social media during a major personal milestone
Personal milestones top the list of when people are most likely to be on social media, followed by sporting events. Additional research reveals consumers are primarily motivated to use social to connect with family and friends.
When targeting customers celebrating these kinds of personal milestones, marketers should consider which social platforms those people use to source their inspiration. Pinterest is one of the go-to destinations for consumers planning a wedding, designing their dream home or meal prepping For retailers, event planners or food-focused businesses, launching a social campaign on Pinterest could bring them closer to their target audience.
For marketers struggling to reach their target audience, it’s helpful to understand when consumers are most interested in seeing branded content—and when they’re not. To launch its new bridalwear brand, Ted Baker turned to Pinterest to target brides and grooms-to-be after social data revealed weddings are one of the top search topics for Pinners. Knowing that customers used Pinterest to search for wedding inspiration, the Ted Baker team created a series of wedding-inspired boards, Promoted Pins and editorial content to help brides and grooms prepare for their big day. The Wed With Ted campaign helped Ted Baker boost awareness around their new wedding collection and resulted in over 400 in-store consultations. Social data can tell brands when their customers are most likely to be on social media and what types of content are likely to resonate. If you’re targeting customers celebrating a personal milestone, such as a wedding, birthday or vacation, consider which social platforms those people use to source inspiration. With this knowledge, you can create a message that resonates the strongest with your audience and reaches them right at the beginning of their customer journey.
It’s clear that consumers are future-oriented. As Pinterest’s Chief Marketing Officer, Andréa Mallard told Adweek, “While consumers look forward, most messaging looks back… We all have a role in envisioning what’s next—including brands.”
Your Focus: Great content considers the touchpoints in consumers’ personal journeys and can make your customers feel seen by your brand. Create messages that consider your audience’s future plans and show how your brand can help them get there. As Mallard puts it, “Be part of the tomorrow they looked forward to today.”