The world may have returned to a semblance of normalcy, but the time people spend on social media continues to surge. In fact, according to a recent report from Sprout Social, 53% of consumers report higher social media usage over the last two years compared to the previous two. As consumer habits around social media change, so do their expectations of brands using the medium.
The Power of Social Media for Brands
As per Sprout Social’s report, most consumers (68%) primarily use social media to stay informed about new products and services, underscoring its potential upside for brands. The second biggest reason for consumers to engage with brands on social media is their desire to access exclusive promotions or deals. This highlights the importance of social media teams working in sync with product, sales, and customer service teams.
Evolving Brand-Consumer Relationships
With consumers spending more time online than ever before, marketers have new opportunities to engage with their core demographics. However, it’s crucial to recognize that the consumers of today may not want the same things as their pre-pandemic counterparts. As social media has put consumers in direct contact with brands, they seek a sense of connection.
Contrary to common belief, speaking out on social issues is not the most effective way for brands to establish a connection with consumers. According to the report, only 25% of consumers believe that brands need to align themselves with specific issues to be memorable. Instead, brands can have a greater impact on social media by simply responding to their customers. Fifty-one percent of consumers see personalized responses as the best way for brands to be memorable.
The Importance of Personalized Responses
The need for personalized responses is further emphasized by the fact that 70% of respondents expect companies to provide personalized responses to their customer service needs. Consumers value how quickly brands respond to their concerns, with 76% noting that they notice and appreciate when companies prioritize customer service. In terms of response time, while 30% expect same-day responses, 16% now expect a response within minutes. These figures indicate the increasing expectation for prompt and personalized interactions with brands on social media.
Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence
To meet evolving consumer demands, marketers are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) as a key tool. According to the report, 81% of marketers already believe that AI has had a positive impact on their work. Looking ahead, AI’s impact is expected to be even greater in 2024, particularly in the areas of content creation and data analysis.
Marketers are finding that AI allows for more time spent on creativity, with 78% of respondents reporting increased efficiency and 73% experiencing more time dedicated to creative pursuits. AI is also being leveraged for customer self-service tools, such as chatbots (54%), streamlining social media workflow (50%), and automating basic customer service inquiries and tasks (47%). Additionally, 35% of marketers plan on using AI for training purposes.
Consumer Skepticism Towards AI
While AI offers significant benefits, consumers remain skeptical. The report reveals that 42% of consumers feel slightly or very apprehensive about AI, while only 24% are slightly or very excited. The majority of consumers (34%) remain neutral. This indicates that while AI has the potential to help marketers meet consumer demands, building trust and striking a balance between leveraging the technology and addressing consumer concerns are crucial.
Embracing Change and Novel Thinking
As social media continues to evolve, marketers must embrace new processes and technologies to stay ahead. This means seeing social media differently and leveraging its unique ability to connect with consumers on an individual level. While it is important for brands to take authentic stances on important issues, it is equally vital for brands to respond to customers personally and create original content that resonates with their audience.
Living up to consumer standards requires marketers to think differently, embracing new processes and technology as essential components of a modern social media strategy. This will undoubtedly be challenging, but the unknowns that lie ahead in the social media landscape also present great opportunities for innovative thinking.
See first source: Marketing Dive
1. Why has social media usage continued to surge even as the world returns to normalcy?
Social media usage has continued to surge because it has become an integral part of people’s lives, offering them a platform for connection, information, and entertainment.
2. What is the primary reason consumers engage with brands on social media, according to the Sprout Social report?
According to the report, the primary reason consumers engage with brands on social media is to stay informed about new products and services (68% of consumers).
3. How can brands establish a connection with consumers on social media, according to the report?
While speaking out on social issues is not the most effective way, brands can establish a connection with consumers on social media by responding to them personally. Fifty-one percent of consumers see personalized responses as the best way for brands to be memorable.
4. What percentage of respondents expect companies to provide personalized responses to their customer service needs on social media?
Seventy percent of respondents expect companies to provide personalized responses to their customer service needs on social media.
5. How are marketers using artificial intelligence (AI) to meet evolving consumer demands?
Marketers are using AI for various purposes, including content creation, data analysis, customer self-service tools (such as chatbots), streamlining social media workflow, automating basic customer service inquiries and tasks, and training purposes.
6. What percentage of marketers believe that AI has had a positive impact on their work, according to the report?
According to the report, 81% of marketers believe that AI has had a positive impact on their work.
7. How do consumers generally feel about AI, based on the report’s findings?
Consumers have mixed feelings about AI. While 24% are slightly or very excited about AI, 42% feel slightly or very apprehensive, and 34% remain neutral.
8. What do marketers need to do to adapt to the evolving social media landscape, according to the article?
To adapt to the evolving social media landscape, marketers need to embrace new processes and technologies. This includes responding to customers personally, creating original content, and leveraging AI as part of a modern social media strategy. It requires innovative thinking and a willingness to embrace change.
Featured Image Credit: Adem AY; Unsplash – Thank you!