Brands need to focus on the awareness and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey to build relationships and boost social media ROI.

Are you focusing on the right phases of the buyer’s journey in your social media strategy? The 2018 Sprout Social Index shows that customers prefer businesses to provide social media content that aids in awareness and consideration, not the end sale.

Misaligned priorities

Sprout Social’s 2018 Index found that users “want brand awareness and consideration stage content from brands on social, but 80% of social marketers are hyper-focused on awareness activities, leaving out the consideration piece of the puzzle.” When brands don’t meet the needs of their audience with consideration stage content, they’re missing out on building relationships and ultimately cutting into social media ROI.

Sprout Social found a great deal of misalignment when it comes to what marketers post versus what consumers want to see on their social media platforms. Click To Tweet

Sprout Social found a great deal of misalignment when it comes to what marketers post versus what consumers want to see on their social media platforms. Part of the issue is a failure to define ROI in the most productive way. Thinking about social media’s value in terms of direct attribution leads to a skewed focus on sales, and erodes the effectiveness of brands’ social media efforts. According to Sprout Social, “social’s true value isn’t in direct attribution — it’s in the awareness and consideration stages of the funnel.”

The right kind of content

Despite the misalignment, there is one area of overlap between what marketers focus on and what users want to see: “posts that teach.” Which brings us back to consideration stage content. “If you aren’t already, meet consumers in this sweet spot in the consideration stage,” suggests Sprout Social. This means taking users beyond recognizing your brand and into knowing where your expertise and thought leadership lies.

Educational content is key in the consideration stage. It’s important to remember that this kind of content doesn’t necessarily need to showcase your product to be valuable — it’s all about offering your audience the information and expertise they’re looking for. For B2B businesses, particularly the supply chain, this could mean anything from product demonstrations to think pieces about how to optimize production.

“The most enlightened social marketing strategy integrates awareness and consideration stage content — opening the door with entertainment and inspiration, then carrying audiences across the threshold with education, information about new product offerings, and discounts and sales,” says Sprout Social.

Diversifying focus between awareness and consideration is crucial to getting the most out of your social media efforts. As social networks home in on preserving the social aspects of their platforms, it’s all the more important for brands to align their activities with what users actually want to see, to stay relevant.

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