New Lessons for Social Media Marketers

Key learnings from the Sprout Social Index

There’s no questioning the power that social media now holds for brands and businesses alike. When used strategically, social media can be the most potent form of both marketing and market research available anywhere.

Social media is another way to create compelling content and share it with a broad audience of potential customers. We often recommend to our clients that they break into social media as a way of expanding their marketing horizons. First, though, they must understand its many facets and its value.

Sprout Social, a company specializing in social media analytics and consulting, wanted to gauge the full potential of social and its prospective value to brands. So it set about creating the Sprout Social Index. For its 2019 edition of the index, Sprout Social first surveyed more than 1,000 social marketers about their social media goals, challenges, and expectations. The company then cross-referenced the marketers’ responses with survey answers from more than 1,000 consumers who had been asked about what they really wanted to see from brands on social media.

We’re looking at some of the major takeaways and how they can help improve your social media marketing.

1.    Create a social strategy that will support your business goals

Nearly 47% of the social marketers surveyed said developing social media strategies that support their brand is their number-one challenge. Most of those polled share similar business goals, such as increasing brand awareness, generating sales, improving community engagement, and boosting web traffic. But how does social media help you achieve those objectives?

For starters, it pays to understand that all those likes, comments, shares, link clicks, and re-postings have real value that can contribute to meeting business goals. If someone is re-posting your content, they are automatically expanding awareness of your brand among their friends and followers. Link clicks are equally important to brands because they give you the power to send a consumer to whatever landing page you choose. Often, link clicks will lead to purchases and brand revenue.

So how should you involve your specific followers on your social platforms? Knowing the consumer behavior you want to elicit will help steer your social strategy.

2.    Dig deeper into your potential audience

Forty-three percent of the social marketers said they struggle to even identify their target audience, much less understand it. And unless you’re providing information and content that is useful or entertaining to the consumers you want to attract, they’re likely to ignore you. So, how do social marketers address this issue and get their target audiences both defined and engaged? In this situation, data is king and listening is an art not to be overlooked.

There are numerous ways to find data that will help you frame your potential audience – Facebook Analytics, Google Analytics, and survey-taking are just three methods. According to the Sprout Social study, tools such as social listening and social analytics are becoming increasingly important as marketers find themselves responsible for data analysis. “As the role of the marketer continues to evolve, analytics and listening tools will become must-haves for the data-driven marketer,” the Sprout report said.

The more data and insights available, the more powerful social will have to support your business growth and brand success.

3.    Use social media to its full potential

Seventy-one percent of those surveyed believe their social insights can be helpful to other teams outside the marketing department. It’s vital one knows how to effectively communicate the value of social to the entire organization.

The social marketers also acknowledged that they’ve yet to take full advantage of social media themselves. To maximize social’s potential, it often helps to have an idea of what’s next on the horizon. Some current social trends include live video streams on Instagram and Facebook, user-generated content, Instagram stories, and private community groups. Marketers already tapping into these increasingly popular features might soon find they’ve gained an edge on the competition. If they haven’t already.

You’ll find more Butin observations and commentary about social media here in the Our Thoughts section of our blog.


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