Understanding the Importance of Social Media Marketing

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Social media has become an essential part of the modern customer journey, underlining the importance of social media marketing for businesses of all sizes.

Even as economic constraints bear down on marketing budgets, executives are still prioritizing social media investments—and with good reason. As consumers spend more time on social media, the channel offers unparalleled access for brands to influence purchase decisions at every stage, from discovery to advocacy.

Today, your social media marketing strategy can make or break your brand. The following statistics from The 2023 State of Social Media Report and The 2023 Sprout Social Index™ showcase the increasing value both business leaders and consumers are placing on social media in 2024 and beyond.

Why social media is important for businesses across industries

Savvy brands across industries use social media to wow their audiences, grow their market share and boost sales. The following statistics demonstrate social media’s impact on businesses of all shapes and sizes.

1. Social media marketing builds brand reputation and loyalty

A statistic call out that says, “Stronger brand reputations are built on social. 94% of business leaders agree that social data and insights have a positive impact on building brand reputation and loyalty."

Reputation is everything, especially in a challenging economic environment. According to The 2023 State of Social Media Report, building brand reputation and loyalty is a top priority for business leaders across industries, especially as they weather fluctuating market conditions.

It’s widely accepted that social media plays an increasingly important role in reputation management. In fact, 94% of leaders acknowledge that it has a positive impact on brand loyalty. Social media allows brands to connect with their audience on a more personal level, creating authentic and lasting connections that can withstand both good times and bad.

2. Social media data informs stronger competitive positioning

A text-based graphic that says, “Social media data informs stronger competitive positioning. 92% of business leaders agree social insights have a positive impact on improving competitive positioning.”

Getting an edge on the competition today can inform stronger business decisions tomorrow. However, if you’re not using social media to keep tabs on what your competitors (and their customers) are prioritizing, you’re missing out.

The real-time nature of social media offers an unrivaled opportunity to observe and analyze competitor strategies. If you’re not familiar, here’s what social media marketing’s role in competitive intelligence can look like:

  • Aggregate data on customer care interactions reveals strengths and weaknesses of competitor products or services.
  • Content themes provide insights on the unique value props that competitors are highlighting, as well as opportunities to further differentiate your brand.
  • Share of voice data measures the market your brand owns online compared to your competitors.

Of course, doing this work manually is time-consuming even for the most well-resourced teams. Luckily, Sprout’s AI-driven social listening tool allows teams to uncover critical insights quickly through automated, presentation-ready competitive analysis reports.

Sprout Social Listening Dashboard showing a circular graph that plots out a brand's share of voice versus several competitors.

3. Social media data creates a more customer-centric business strategy

Social listening data allows brands to keep up with the trends and conversations that impact their audience in real-time. These insights, in turn, inform stronger, more customer-centric business strategies.

A stat call-out that says, "91% of business leaders say social data helps them gain a better understanding of customers."

If you want to see what this looks like in action, check out Goally—a technology company on a mission to ease the lives of families with neurodiverse individuals. They use Sprout’s listening tools to keep up with their audience’s evolving needs.

With Sprout, the Goally team surfaced a common need of parents raising neurodiverse kids: They want to see their children become independent. This finding has helped validate and enhance their company vision, informing everything from content to customer care.

4. Social media marketing supports better public relations outcomes

A text-based graphic that says, “Social media marketing supports better public relations outcomes. 91% of business leaders agree that social insights have a positive impact on their PR function.”

The 24-hour news cycle has done away with old methods of public relations. Today, it’s not enough to simply pitch some journalists a press release. You need to establish a compelling brand narrative that proactively generates media interest, otherwise you’ll get lost in the crowd.

Social helps brands stand out by offering a variety of engaging ways to present a steady drumbeat of thought leadership and brand storytelling. The channel plays an increasingly large role in executive communication strategies, providing business leaders with new opportunities to share insights and showcase their expertise.

Building your brand’s social presence, including that of your CEO and executives, leaves you with more than just followers and likes—it provides you with an owned channel for PR amplification, enabling you to influence narratives, engage with your audience directly and drive positive media coverage.

5. Social media marketing plays a critical role in crisis management

A text-based graphic that says, “Social media marketing plays a critical role in crisis management. 84% of business leaders agree that social data and insights positively impacts risk management.”

Crises are no longer reserved for major brands. Social media opens businesses big and small up to a new level of scrutiny.

Social media crises can unfold on various scales, whether it’s an insensitive employee comment amplified by an outraged audience or a surge of customer complaints after a service slip-up. The most effective way to manage these risks is by having a social media crisis plan.

The importance of social media marketing in crisis management is two-fold. Firstly, by monitoring and listening to social media, you can proactively manage risks. Secondly, adopting a social-first crisis management strategy provides brands with an opportunity to address issues before they escalate into a larger problem.

6. Social commerce introduces your products and services to customers looking to buy

A stat call-out that says, “68% of consumers follow brands on social to stay informed about products and services.”

Why invest in social media marketing? Because social media marketing is an investment in your business’s future.

According to The 2023 Sprout Social Index™, 68% of consumers follow brands on social to stay informed about new products or services. Going for the hard sell on social media used to be a faux pas, but attitudes have shifted. The channel has become the new shopping catalog for the always-on consumer.

If you’re not investing in a data-driven social commerce strategy, you’re missing out on a major source of potential revenue. If you want to be where your customers are, you need to be on social.

7. Social media marketing supports wow-worthy customer experiences

A stat call-out that says, “88% of leaders say social data and insights are critical to delivering exceptional customer care.”

More consumer-brand interactions are going digital, creating a massive opportunity for businesses looking to make an impression with their target audiences. One-on-one interactions now take place on a public stage, and their impacts are one-to-many.

That’s why it’s so important for brands to create social media customer care strategies that support proactive and reactive community engagement. It’s not enough to simply respond to service requests. To get the most out of social, you need to actively seek and join the conversations that move the needle for your brand, whether you’re tagged or not.

Combining rich social listening data with a well-optimized social media engagement workflow gives you endless chances to surprise and delight your audience. When you exceed their expectations, you reap the benefits of their loyalty.

How 3 brands maximize the importance of social media marketing with Sprout

The data is there, now let’s see it in action. Here’s how three brands are realizing the potential of social media with help from Sprout.

Simpli.fi uses Employee Advocacy to build brand awareness

There’s only so much awareness you can raise from your brand accounts. If you really want the market to accept and celebrate a rebrand, your employees need to be able to effectively communicate your organization’s new identity and message to external audiences.

To get team members on the same page after overhauling its brand identity, Simpli.fi turned to Employee Advocacy by Sprout Social.

“We aligned the launch of a new social media strategy with the brand transformation—and we moved quickly to get employee advocacy live a few months in advance,” said Spencer Traver, Director of Content at Simpli.fi. “Employee advocacy is an easy, interactive way to get people involved in sharing our story. We wanted to use it to help create a sense of belonging, internally, not just around the brand transformation, but as an evergreen effort moving forward.”

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post from Simpli.fi, sharing content from an employee celebrating their recent rebrand. The posts says, “Thanks for sharing, Gabrielle H.! We love seeing our Fort Worth-based employees celebrating today's brand transformation launch. #OneSimplifi”.

Within three months of using Employee Advocacy by Sprout Social, Simpli.fi realized nearly $90,000 in estimated earned media value (EMV), resulting in 7x ROI on their advocacy program. By empowering their team to amplify content through their own networks, Simpli.fi introduced a changed company with a stronger, more unified brand message.

Atlassian uses social listening to better understand their audience

The Atlassian social team strives to be present wherever people are talking about work—whether they’re tagged or not.

A screenshot of an X (formerly known as Twitter) exchange between Atlassian and user @n0x13. @n0x13 says, “If the Jira ticket was never updated, did the work actually happen?”. Atlassian responded, “Food for thought”.

“We jump in on conversations that are happening about teamwork, work management or agile development—not necessarily our products,” says Loren Siegel, Atlassian’s Community and Social Engagement Senior Team Lead.

Joining the broader industry conversations that surround their products helps humanize the Atlassian brand, creating deeper connections with their target audience. Siegel and her team use Sprout’s social media listening tool to identify and act on the conversations that move individuals along on their customer journey.

For example, one of their social listening queries listens for specific game developers on X (formerly known as Twitter).

“We want to listen to what they’re talking about and provide solutions when they’re talking about Jira, Confluence and [other Atlassian] products to build their relationship with the brand. It’s been a fun new path for my team to focus on building community with a particular segment of professionals,” she says.

This proactive approach to social engagement builds community around the business, fostering brand loyalty and a superior customer experience across the funnel.

Casey’s uses social media integrations to drive higher customer satisfaction

For Casey’s, creating stand-out social customer care experiences is a collaborative effort. To ensure no customer request goes cold, they use Sprout’s integration with Salesforce.

“The integration has been a game-changer,” says Jasmine Riedemann, Casey’s Social Media Manager. “It’s opened a floodgate of communication right within the tool between our social and Guest Relations Teams.”

Before Sprout, it took the Casey’s team up to three days to respond to social customer care messages. Siloed team structures made it difficult to know what was being addressed and when, leading to longer wait times for the customer.

Now, Casey’s guests receive responses to their messages within three to five hours, on average, according to Riedemann. This represents a 90% faster response time.

“I cannot applaud the Sprout Social and Salesforce integration enough for what it’s done for our teams,” says Ridemann. “The communication between our Guest Relations Team and social team has improved tenfold because we can see who addressed a case and what actions were taken.”

The importance of social media marketing ripples across a business

Social media’s impact has expanded well beyond marketing, touching nearly every corner of a business. More teams, from customer service to product development, benefit from the rich market insights the channel can provide. Marketing leaders must work to establish a consistent flow of social data and insights throughout their organizations to further support these partnerships.

To make this happen, you’ll need a social media management platform designed to effectively break down internal silos. Request a personalized demo of Sprout Social today to find out how our tool empowers more collaborative workflows that allow businesses to make better, faster decisions with social.


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