Social Media: Giving Customers What They Want

Social media is all about connecting with customers in a way that is genuine and authentic. That’s a pretty standard view among social media marketers. Where the divergence comes is when we ask what exactly that looks like. Is it being funny? Creative? Snarky? Honest? You’ll get different answers from every social media expert blogging today.

Fortunately for us, SproutSocial decided to cut through all the competing theories and go directly to the source – social media users. In their recently released Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index, they surveyed 1,000 social media users on what they want from brands they follow on social media.

If you’re interested in social media marketing, the full report is well worth the read. And we’ll look at a few of the bigger takeaways and how you can implement them into your social media strategy. When it comes to behaviors that customers want to see on social, we’ll cover the three least important followed by the three most important. Let’s dig in.

Not So Important

The three behaviors that came in at the bottom are being trendy (43%), being politically correct (39%) and being snarky (33%). At the outset, I want to say that these are less-important not totally unimportant. Let’s look at each in turn:

  • Trendy – This one came as a surprise. Social media often feels like a content to be the trendiest, but it looks like the need for trendiness has been overstated. Of course, some brands (fashion, lifestyle, etc.) absolutely need to be trendy but if you’re selling tractor parts maybe don’t lose any sleep over following the latest styles.
  • Politically Correct – This one’s a minefield, so navigate carefully. Political correctness is everybody’s favorite whipping boy – until their offended by something. There is a time and place to be edgy, but don’t take this finding as a license to go off the rails.
  • Snarky – Some brands pull this off exceptionally well (looking at you, Wendy’s), but there’s nothing worse than bad snark. If you have the cultural clout and humorous chops to pull it off, I say go for it. But if you’re being snarky for the sake of snark it might be time to reconsider your social media strategy.

There’s nothing wrong with any of these methods if they fit your brand and are done well. But if they’re outside your forte, then don’t feel bad to skip over the lesser-loved features of social media.

The Oh-So Important

So, if customers don’t care about trendiness, political correctness, and snark; what do they care about? According to SproutSocial, they care about helpfulness, friendliness, and honesty (at 78%, 83%, and 86%, respectively). This might come as a shock to many social media marketers. You don’t have to be funny or edgy if you are providing value and authenticity to your customers. Try it out!

  • Helpful – More and more, people are turning to social media for customer-relation issues. If you want to please your audience, you need to be attentive to their needs and proactive in finding solutions to their problems. Can the trendiness and shoot for genuine helpfulness instead.
  • Friendly – Snark and sarcasm as dangerous games and can easily backfire. Especially when customers would rather interact with brands that are kind and friendly. Put a human touch on your social media with authentic concern for the well-being of your customers.
  • Honest – The number one thing customers want from your social media presence is honesty. This means owning up to mistakes (and making them right), provide an avenue for real feedback, and truly listening to your customers. The best part: honesty doesn’t require a special skill, just a commitment to treating your customers as real people with real concerns. Maybe not always easy, being honest is always is the right move.

If you’re not sure what to do on social media, fall back on what people want: helpful, friendly, and honest brands that take their customers’ needs seriously.

What’s Important to You?

All the social media marketing advice in the world is worthless if you’re not adapting it to fit your brand. Studies and surveys can help to give us an insight into customer behavior, but no study will ever compare to the data you already have available.

Look back over your social media history and see what was a success and what was a failure. Are your customers looking for trendy sarcasm or open and honest communication? Only you can really answer that questions, so always take social media advice with a grain of salt.

At Fusion Group USA we love to craft marketing campaigns that combine the best marketing advice with your existing data and customer profiles to create a winning strategy. If you’re ready to utilize the best of social media marketing for your business, give us a call today. We can set you on the path to creating an authentic and engaged social following!

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