To get a better understanding of this, social media management platform Sprout Social recently conducted a survey of more than 1,000 social media users, asking them directly what they like and dislike about brands on social channels. And the results are worth noting for any businesses looking to maximize their social media presence – here are some of the key findings from Sprout’s research.
Over-promotion remains a problem
Of all the reasons shared as to why people choose to unfollow brands on social, ‘Posting too many promotions’ was the biggest turn-off, and by a significant margin. Unfortunately, many businesses still approach social as if it’s a broadcast channel – they get online, activate a Facebook account and then start blasting whomever will listen with their latest offers and deals.
These are the same people who believe that Facebook should enable them to reach all their Page fans with every post, seeing it as a form of free advertising – yet it’s those very businesses that have forced Facebook to reduce the organic reach of Pages in order to stop them spamming people’s feeds.
In simple terms, social media is a ‘social’ medium. It requires two-way communication – you post, people respond, you engage, etc. It’s not a broadcast platform where you blast your message as far and wide as you can – and that’s an important distinction to make when devising your social strategy.
Among other reasons people unfollow brands were ‘Using slang and jargon’, ‘Not having any personality on their accounts’ and ‘Not replying to messages’. Again, the social element is strong in these responses – you need to understand your social communities and communicate with them, not at them.
People follow brands for product and promotions news
The number one reason why survey respondents indicated that they follow brands on social was ‘Interested in their product/service’, with 73.4% of people flagging this as being key. ‘Interested in promotions’ (58.8%) was the second most popular answer.
This is a good reminder as to what people are looking for on brand profiles – sometimes you’ll see brands revert to posting humorous pictures or inspirational quotes in order to generate engagement on their pages, but the results here show that people want information about what you do, along with special offers for community members.
The third most popular reason noted was ‘They’re entertaining’ (51.3%). Again, it’s about defining a content mission first, informing people about what your business does, but also looking to do that in an engaging and entertaining way. Entertaining, in itself, might get you attention, but information about your products and services remains critical.
Social influences purchase decisions
If you needed more reinforcement of the fact that social media now plays a critical role in the purchase process, Sprout’s researchers found that more than 75% of people have made a purchase because of something they saw on social media.
It’s hard to deny a result that significant – some businesses still don’t see the value in social, they still don’t think their customers are on there. And of course, that may be true, it is possible that no one you ever do business with, or ever will do business with, is active on social media. But it’s increasingly unlikely.
The numbers here underline this fact – three in four people have purchased something because of exposure to that product or service on social media. There’s no way to play that level of influence down – if you’re not active on social, it’s worth getting active and ensuring you’re making an informed decision about your business’ presence.
The full Sprout Social Q3 2016 Index is worth a read for more context and data on these insights.