Every year, Sprout Social, the social media scheduling platform, puts out the Sprout Social Index, a report gathered from thousands of marketers and consumers about what they think of social media. It’s almost 50 pages of insights meant to help marketers better understand the social media landscape we live and work in. You can download it and read it for yourself here. But if you want the abridged version, here is what I think are the three biggest and most important tidbits from the report:
Marketers Need to Pivot Their Thinking to Match Consumers
Marketers are focused on posts that teach (61%), tell a story (58%), and inspire (53%), while consumers are looking for discounts and sales (73%), posts that showcase new products and services (60%), and posts that teach them something (59%), according to the report. Frankly, I was taken aback when I read this. It’s astounding to me that so many marketers are focused on making posts that consumers are reporting they aren’t interested in.
Marketers, however, have harder data to support why they’re focused on these posts. Meaning: consumers might say they’re only interested in this content, but the numbers marketers are looking at might tell a different story. Another way to look at this is when readers complain to media outlets about the outlets publishing “click bait,” but the “click bait” is the top read story. So if you’re reading it, how can you deride it? (It’s worth adding that there is nothing wrong with “click bait” but I’ll let Allison Carter get into that.)
Marketers should always keep consumers in mind and take these stats to heart. But also trust the numbers you’re looking at.
Customer Service on Social Media is Becoming More Important
According to the report, nearly half of consumers surveyed reached out to a brand on social media in the past year. Social media affords consumers a chance to interact directly with a brand, when other customer service options fail. With so many brands using social media, it’s easy to see how reaching out on social media has become so common. Marketers know it too: 88% reported understanding the importance of good customer service on social media.
Video is King, and Not Just On Facebook
I’m not going to go in deep on how important video is. We’ve written plenty of blog posts on it. However, it’s interesting that marketers are seeing it as not only the #1 priority for Facebook but Instagram and Snapchat as well. When ranking what they thought they needed to succeed on social media, marketers ranked video #1 for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and #3 for LinkedIn and Twitter.
The popularity and success of video as a marketing tool is spreading from Facebook to other social media platforms as consumers begin to expect video everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2019 report has video bumped up to #1 on Twitter and LinkedIn.