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Sprout Social released their yearly index comprised of social marketing trends and consumer behaviors. We’ve highlighted some of the biggest data points and insights from the index and what they mean for social marketing.

69% of social marketers say their focus is on increasing brand awareness.

This shows that brand awareness remains the top priority for social marketers. The best way to measure brand awareness? Look at the reach and engagement of content over the span of 1-month. Anything shorter is not valuable enough data to determine whether or not the social strategy is working.

62% of marketers listed communication as the #1 skill they need to achieve their goals on social.

When it comes to social media communication is key. Communication with your team internally and communication with your brand’s consumers externally. It’s important for teams to internally discuss what’s working and what needs improvement to facilitate true social growth. It’s also important to listen and communicate with your brand’s consumer base. When you listen to your consumers, you’re able to tailor social efforts to reach them in the ways they want and expect.

77% of marketers are not using social data to measure ROI. 56% are using social data to understand their target audience.

Social media tends to be more top of funnel and brand awareness focused. So, marketers put the importance of measuring ROI lower down on their list. This is strictly for organic social not paid social as ROI is much more easily tracked for paid social campaigns. A majority of social marketers utilize social data to understand their target audience. Analyzing your target audience helps determine what your brand’s social strategy should be and it also shows you opportunities to reach new audiences. The social data is there, use it!

50% of consumers turn to social to celebrate personal milestones, big or small.

Take advantage of these milestones and topics that bring people to social by tailoring social creative to celebrate these things too. Celebrate your customer’s wins and the wins for your brand. Celebrate company milestones and social holidays relevant to your brand. Consumers respond better to positive messaging and these celebratory posts help put your brand in a positive light.

43% of consumers want to see more Instagram Stories.

It’s time to work Instagram stories into your content strategy, especially if your brand is focused on a younger demographic. Instagram story usage continues to increase amongst users, and brands are jumping on the story train too. Stories provide another creative way to reach your consumers and deliver content in a new format. It’s a great way to highlight upcoming deals and promotions and any big brand announcements. Remember, stories are only around for 24 hours and you will have to create a “Story Highlight” to keep them permanently on your brand’s Instagram profile.

89% of consumers buy from a brand they follow on social.

Your brand’s followers on social media can be some of your biggest brand advocates. That’s why it’s important to have a social strategy that is consumer centric. Consumers are more likely to buy from your brand if you’re delivering the content they’re looking for. This is where communication plays a key role. Listen to your customers and work off of what they want and what they’re asking for. Make sure your brand is responsive on social media and have a plan in place to tackle any customer issues that are voiced there.