Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a watershed social justice movement, it is no surprise that consumers have increasingly turned to social media. New data from social media analytics firm Sprout Social delves deeper into how social media behavior has changed as well as the increased expectations consumers have for brands in this new era.
The firm surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers about their use of social media and changes in expectations for brands over the past six months. Key findings include:
As the pandemic continues, consumers turn to social for the experiences they used to get in person
Over the last six months, 62 percent of consumers have increased their use of social to connect with friends and family and 48 percent have increased their use for entertainment purposes.
Social is a hub for both news and education as consumers navigate a changing landscape
Over the last six months, 55 percent of consumers spend more time on social to stay up to date on news and 36 percent for education on timely topics.
Consumers will reward brands that share their values on social
When brands are forthcoming about their values on social, 58 percent are more likely to buy products or services from them if they share similar beliefs.
Consumers recognize missteps and take action accordingly
Nearly half of consumers (48 percent) say brands have recently posted irrelevant or insensitive content amid the current state of the country. And when that happens, more than one-third (36 percent) of consumers will unfollow the brand on social media.
Brands risk losing business if they fail to follow through
As the spotlight focuses on issues of social justice, 55 percent of consumers expect brands to take a stance that goes beyond corporate statements and monetary donations such as new corporate initiatives, or commitments to specific goals. These expectations are significantly higher among millennials (65 percent).
If brands fail to stay true to their commitments to social issues, they face serious consequences
Forty two percent would start buying from alternative brands and 29 percent would boycott the brand altogether.
“People are increasingly turning to social for the things they can no longer get in person,” said Jamie Gilpin, CMO at Sprout Social, in a news release. “And with consumer expectations on the rise, it’s never been more important for brands to demonstrate their values and showcase how they’re contributing to change. People are holding brands to a new standard and are asking them to be stewards of accountability. As we work to adapt to these new expectations, brands must be willing to speak out and answer the call.”
The data is based on a survey of 1,001 U.S. consumers. The survey was conducted online between July 17-20, 2020.