In the eyes of consumers, offering strong customer service is one of the top traits that make a brand best-in-class on social media. However, a report [download page] from Sprout Social shows that fewer marketers view customer service as important in their quest to be a top-notch brand on social.
Close to half (47%) of the US consumers surveyed for the report think a brand is best-in-class on social media if they offer strong customer service. And, while previous research from Sprout Social found that 6 in 10 US business executives said their company is currently using social media for customer service and two-thirds (67%) are planning to use social for this purpose to a greater degree in the next few years, only a little more than one-third (35%) of the marketers surveyed for this report believe that strong customer service makes a brand best-in-class on social.
On the other hand, marketers are more apt than consumers to think brands are best-in-class on social if they create memorable content (45% vs. 39%) and tell a compelling story (37% vs. 28%).
Beyond these discrepancies, consumers and marketers are more aligned on other aspects that differentiate brands on social media. These include engaging with their audience (46% of consumers and 48% of marketers), being transparent (44% and 42%, respectively) and having a distinct personality (33% and 31%, respectively).
What Consumers Do When They Follow Brands on Social
Considering the emphasis consumers put on brands providing strong customer service on social, it’s not surprising that more than three-quarters (76%) indicate that reaching out to customer service or support is one of the actions they take when they follow brands on social.
What may be even more important to brands is that following a brand on social can result in a range of brand-loyal behaviors, such as buying from that brand (90%), choosing that brand over a competitor (86%) and buying from that brand more often (85%). These behaviors are becoming more important as more consumers have started shopping directly from social media.
There are actions brands can take on social media in order to convince consumers to buy from them instead of their competitors. Again, customer service is key, with 47% of consumers saying they want brands to respond to customer service questions in a timely manner. Brands should also demonstrate an understanding of what consumers want (43%), create more culturally relevant content (39%), create educational content about their product or service (31%) and engage with consumers on social media (27%).
Meeting Goals on Social
As for the types of content marketers post on social media, more than half (54%) of those surveyed for the report say that video is one of the most valuable forms of content for achieving social goals. Indeed, recent research shows that marketers plan to increase their use of video platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
Marketers are also putting a lot of stock in images, with 53% finding them valuable in achieving their goals on social. Surprisingly, despite the advertising investment being made in Stories on Instagram, only about one-quarter (26%) of marketers consider this form of content as being among the most valuable for their social goals.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a March-April 2021 survey of 1,002 US consumer respondents and 1,001 US marketers.