How You Say It Matters: Customers Respond to Social Content

BLOG POST BY SARAH MALCOLM, CHIEF DIGITAL STRATEGIST AT THE NEWS FUNNEL

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Content marketing works because it engages are consumers with our brand. Did you ever wonder how exactly are our consumers reacting to what we post on social media? We can use metrics to analyze our brands to find the most shared or “liked” content. Still, it’s up to us to determine the sociology behind why that particular content drove an action. We have to wonder, is what motivates our audience the same for another brand’s audience? What are the trends across industries and content marketing in general? Recent data from Sprout Social made some interesting findings.

1. Social media as customer service

Research by Sprout Social found 48% of customers want to purchase items or services from brands that are responsive on social media. This backs our position that social media marketing is your best form of customer service. Regardless of the platforms brands use, there's always an avenue to respond to customer feedback. Don’t just limit responses to always negative comments and reviews, although these dissatisfied customers are a public way to showcase how the brand handles snafus. People like knowing their problems are going to be addressed in a friendly and timely manner. Positive feedback is just as worthy of a response and may be even more valuable at winning customers over. Show people you care what they have to say, no matter where it falls on the spectrum.

2.  No Second Chances

Responding appropriately to social media posts to demonstrate excellent customer service is one-half of the coin, although half of the respondents to a HubSpot survey said they would unfollow for poor customer service. What is interesting is consumers are unlikely in today's social world to give brands second or third chances if they dislike their social media activities. This could be too much self-promotion, lack of engagement, or offensive content.  Over 27% of consumers will completely boycott a brand if they do something they dislike. Half will just unfollow the brand. This makes managing social crises, following brand guidelines, and responding appropriately even more important.

3. Don't be afraid to show emotion

Consumer engagement is higher when the social media content evokes emotion. Humor is easy and popular, with 36% of consumers more likely to engage in with a brand if they're being even just a little bit funny. No that does not mean teasing the competition or making fun of consumers, which overall turns people away. However, you don't need to be humorous to evoke emotion. The posts can be inspiring like an interview with someone who overcame serious obstacles, reflective like an “on this day” post, impressive like drone footage of a city skyline-it doesn't matter.  As long as it makes the audience feel something it's more likely to solicit engagement.

4. Are You Not Entertained?

It is possible to be educational and entertaining at the same time. When you take content that is less than thrilling and find a way to present it in a memorable way, audiences love it. Take airline safety videos. If you've traveled enough, you can probably recite the mandatory safety briefing.  Some brands have put a spin on the briefing as of way of entertaining audiences and making them pay attention. Take Air New Zealand, which parodied The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings for their airline’s safety video.

5. Real-time Responses

An Economist group survey found that 67% of buyers responded to social content with timely information. That means somebody in your organization needs to be socially listening to industry trends and finding ways to engage with the now. People prefer active brands, which is why having a plan to post regular content works to attract a larger brand audience.