Are Brands Really Understanding What Consumers Expect From Social Media Marketing?

The social media marketing strategy has become a basic piece in the work of marketers, an unquestionable platform that must be used to reach and connect with consumers. Its presence in marketers’ plans over the past decade has left no one doubting its potential, but are marketers really understanding what consumers expect and what they need to do to connect with them?

Based on data from a recent study conducted by Sprout Social, based on an American sample, you could say no. The study has confronted marketers and their expectations about what makes the brand good on social media with consumers and what they want to see offered in a ‘real’ way.

Between one and the other there are differences. So, first and foremost, there is a certain imbalance between what marketers believe is most important and what consumers expect. For the latter, the important thing is the content. For brands, it’s the connection.

Thus, if consumers are asked how are the brands that do better on social networks, 47% say that the best are those that have very good customer service on that channel. This point is the one that leads the ranking, ahead of these brands connecting with the audience (46%) or being transparent (44%).

Content is important, but not so much for consumers. 39% are those who speak of memorable content, followed by 33% who indicate that they have a distinctive personality or 28% who tell an attractive story. In the queue is those who are early adopters of social networks (23%), who set trends (18%) or who impact popular culture (17%).

What marketers believe
The order of these points is altered when marketers are asked what makes brands better on social media. Marketers themselves believe that the key is in engagement with the audience (48%), in having memorable content (45%) and in being transparent (42%).

In a way, it could be said that they place more importance on content than consumers do. 37% indicate that they must have an interesting story, another 37% that they must be the first to join a social network and 31% that they must have a distinctive personality. Only 35% position as key to offer strong customer service on social media, just the point that matters most to consumers themselves.

Customer service is key
Second, all of this creates a sticky situation. This distance between what some and others believe about customer service on social media is quite problematic, especially if one takes into account that consumers also take it as a yardstick to stay with one company over another.

Asked about the actions that brands can take on social media to win them against their competitors, 47% of the consumers surveyed assure that they must answer their questions – customer service – in an understandable time frame.

There are differences according to age groups, but even so the point remains consistently. 41% of consumers from 18 to 23, another 41% of those from 24 to 39, 46% of those from 40 to 55 and 60% of those from 56 to 74 see it that way.

The next key point is to show that you understand what the consumer wants. It is chosen by 43%, in general terms, but here there are differences by age. It is basic for 50% of consumers from 18 to 23 and 45% of those from 24 to 39, but it drops to 41 in those from 56 to 74 and to 37 in those from 40 to 55. Behind these points is those who create content that is culturally relevant (39%) or who create content that works in an educational way about their products and services (31%).

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