Live Video’s A Top Trend for Social Marketers, Who Point to Audience Engagement As Their Key Differentiator

May 27, 2020

SproutSocial What Makes Brand Social Best in Class May2020For social marketers, it is increasingly vital to execute campaigns and strategies that stand out. With most brands convinced about the benefits that a strong social presence can bring, marketers face the challenge of cutting through the noise to reach their target audiences; – and indeed, the most commonly cited top goal for social marketers is increasing brand awareness, per a recent study [download page] from Sprout Social.

The report outlines social marketers’ goals, challenges and plans to boost the bottom line in 2020. Here are some of the key findings.

Brand and Audience Feature in Goals and Challenges

As mentioned, increasing brand awareness is the most frequently selected primary goal for social media marketing, with 7 in 10 (69%) stating as such. Other common objectives among respondents are to grow their brand’s audience (46%), promote content (44%), increase community engagement (43%) and drive sales (40%).

When it comes to building strategy around these goals, marketers are influenced by a number of factors: 6 in 10 (59%) look at their performance to date, while roughly the same proportion (57%) watch their social goals and objectives. Meanwhile, 52% focus on customer feedback and a further 45% consider trending topics and interests.

Surprisingly, there was a relatively low percentage of respondents who say that connecting with their audience (30%) is a primary goal. This may be because it is hard to do; when asked for their greatest challenges, the #1 challenge cited by respondents was identifying and reaching their target audience. The issue is far from unique among social marketers – content marketers also struggle with audience-related issues.

Even so, the majority (56%) of respondents use social data to understand their target audience, with a further 4 in 10 (39%) using it to foster connection with consumers. Social data is also used commonly to develop creative content (49%) and assess campaign performance (43%).

Other critical obstacles for social marketers include measuring ROI (#2) and supporting overall business goals (#3).

With these goals and challenges in mind, how are marketers planning to increase the impact of their social campaigns in 2020?

Engagement Leads to Social That Stands Out

Continuing the trends outlined above, the majority (59%) of marketers think that engagement with the audience is what makes a brand’s social best in class. They also cite memorable content (46%) and compelling storytelling (45%) as attributes of the best social campaigns, with a further 37% rating strong customer service.

Encouragingly, consumers’ responses largely indicate an alignment between what marketers and their audience consider to be a great social presence. Despite consumers being less convinced by compelling storytelling (32%) and pop culture references (18%) than marketers, they cited the same top 3 traits of stand-out social. These were creative at #1, memorable at #2 and impactful at #3.

Marketing respondents also thought that best-in-class social has a distinct personality (34%), and sets trends (31%). On the latter point, the survey also covered what marketers think here.

Live Video is the Top Trend

When it comes to engaging in social media trends, the majority (56%) of marketers plan to try out live video, with a further 48% looking to use Stories. Both of these elements also feature in an earlier influencer marketing survey, where Stories and video made up 3 of the top 4 most effective formats.

Other proposed trends include user-generated content (41%), employee advocacy (35%), stickers and widgets (33%) and AMA sessions (24%).

That being said, marketers should carefully measure their audience’s response to social trends: across the board, consumers are less interested in trends than marketers. In particular, influencer marketing was cited by 42% of marketers but 19% of consumers, and just 10% of consumers showed an interest in viral challenges compared to 31% of marketers.

Read more in the full report here.

About the Data:

Based on Q1 2020 surveys of 1,003 marketer respondents and 1,028 consumer respondents.

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