What brands believe consumers want from them on social media doesn’t quite line up with what consumers actually want from them on social media, according to the Sprout Social Index 2018, a new study from social media management tool Sprout Social. The company asked more than 2,000 social marketers about their approach to “structure, goals and content,” and it then cross-referenced their answers against input from consumers.

Sprout found that the top three priorities for social marketers are posts that teach something (61 percent), posts that tell a story (58 percent) and posts that inspire (53 percent). Meanwhile, the top three things that consumers are looking for are discounts or sales (72 percent), posts that showcase new products or services (60 percent) and posts that teach something (59 percent).

Sprout wrote, “The sole overlap between top marketing priorities and consumer preferences is posts that teach. If you aren’t already, meet consumers in this sweet spot in the consideration stage.

This content takes consumers a step beyond knowing who you are, to knowing what you do and what space you are a part of or an expert in.” Other content-related findings from Sprout Social Index 2018 included: The company also found that the No. 1 challenge for social marketers is measuring return on investment, with 55 percent of them citing it, well ahead of the rest of the top five: understanding cross-channel social success (42 percent), developing a strategy to support business goals (39 percent), determining what content to post (27 percent) and securing budget and resources (25 percent).

Customer service came up quite often in Sprout’s research. The company found that 88 percent of social marketers understand the importance of customer service via social media, and 45 percent of consumers had reached out to companies via social media. Read more from adweek.com…

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