With consumer markets becoming more competitive by the day, companies must be quick to adapt to the shifting social media landscape if they want to maintain their competitive edge. Thanks to platforms like Sprout Social, consumer purchasing motivation is becoming measurable, allowing brands to shift their social media strategy to adapt to the buying trends of various demographics. And with the aging of Baby Boomers, Millennials now have the most purchasing power of any generation.
Millennials are now spending somewhere between $200 billion and $1.3 trillion each year in the U.S. alone. As a primary demographic for many consumer brands, it’s critical to understand and satisfy Millennial motivations. Studies report that Millennial consumers value companies that are trustworthy and exhibit social media behavior that is transparent about business visions and goals. Therefore, innovative brand transparency strategies are now key to capturing this audience and maintaining or growing market share.
A recent Sprout Social report explained that Millennial consumers are more willing to spend with companies that not only have a social media presence, but respond empathetically to customer needs when addressed on social media channels. They expect the same level of participation from all business stakeholders (regardless of company roles) - up to and including CEOs and other members of the C-suite, to be active and engaged online. Much of this expectation is indicative of the level of technological access Millennials have had as they’ve matured through life and the consumer market. Because Millennials are concerned with self, society, and the planet, it’s no surprise that they are holding business responsible for progress and ethical practices.
With 2.62 billion people with active social media profiles in 2018, we are seeing companies being held responsible (by the masses) for maintaining active relationships with their consumers over social media. Consumers and especially millennials are ready to activate conversations with brands to resolve problems and confirm the brand’s stance on social issues. If met with undesired responses or no response at all, they are ready not only to take their business elsewhere, but to use online platforms to persuade others to do the same. In a recent backlash against Victoria’s Secret, vocal consumers took to Twitter to criticize the company for an apology for comments by its CMO that was perceived as underwhelming.
61% of Fortune 500 company CEOs don’t utilize social media, but it might be time for corporate leaders to start getting involved. These are the people who influence company culture, set standards for performance, and lead organizations through changes in the landscape. They’ve been at the center of attention in their organizations for years, yet they’re remote from their customers.
The consumer understands why a busy CEO might not engage in social media as a form of communications, so they also don’t mind if the C-Suite is getting a helping hand with managing their media profiles. 80% of people surveyed said they would prefer a CEO manage their own social media accounts but say what matters most to them is an authentic experience, regardless of who is managing the account.
The bottom line is that if businesses want to hold their market share, there needs to be more transparency on who is making decisions – and who will be held accountable.