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When it comes to social media related to auto buying, carmakers should not put too much emphasis on “all the feels” as most demographic groups are looking more for facts.

The days of social as an optional marketing channel are over. Now that social has its rightful place at the table, it is vital to understand where in the funnel social efforts should be targeted, according to Spout Social.

Per its 47-page annual social index, the top consumer content preference is for product information (48%), followed by promotions and deals (46%), education content (18%), news (17%), business updates (12%) and entertaining content (9%). Only 8% want to see “inspirational content” and only 4% want to see content including celebrities or other influencers they follow.

“Consumers want brand awareness and consideration stage content from brands on social,” according to the report. “But 80% of social marketers are hyper-focused on awareness activities, leaving out the consideration piece of the puzzle. The social marketer’s No. 1 challenge is still ROI. Return on investment is the top concern for 55% of social marketers. This makes sense for two reasons: They aren’t meeting the full needs of their social audience with both brand awareness and consideration content and they’re defining ROI incorrectly to begin with.

Facebook remains a dominant force in marketing strategies and consumer behavior. A whopping 97% of social marketers list Facebook as their most used and useful social network, and Instagram blows Snapchat out of the water by social marketer usership and consumer adoption. In fact, 83% of marketers use Instagram and 13% use Snapchat; 51% of consumers use Instagram and 30% use Snapchat.

The automotive industry-specific data provides a pulse on effective social media marketing strategies to note for 2018.

“As marketers, we hear about ROI every single day—and social marketers remain anxious about it,” according to the report. “To truly understand what ROI means in the social marketing industry, and how social marketers are aligning with consumer preferences, we asked more than 2,000 social marketers how they approach structure, goals and content. We asked about their priorities and what they need to do their best work. Then we cross-referenced their reports against what consumers actually want. “

Millennials and Gex X differ in that Millennials prefer inspirational and entertaining content and business updates more than Gex X. Gen X prefer product information and news more than Millennials.

A recent Pew Study differentiated between Millennials (ages 22-37) and Generation X (ages 38-53) and their media consumption patterns. Sprout wanted to see how this differentiation translates to social.

As it turns out, Millennials are twice as likely to use Snapchat as Generation X. Millennials want to see only friends’ content on social 52% more than Gen X Millennials and Gen X prefer the same content from companies: Discounts or sales, posts that showcase products or services and educational posts.

“We found that social is still very much a personal platform,” according to the report. “People spend time on social, first and foremost, to interact with family and friends. As brands put together campaigns and messaging, they must remember that they are guests at dinner, not members of the nuclear family: their role in user feeds is delicate, valuable and should be treated with great care.:

So how can brands disrupt the user experience in the least intrusive and most relevant way? Data shows the answer: with awareness and consideration stage content. Think long-term, not quick fix. Think relationships, not attribution, per Sprout.

“Where there is alignment (is) customer service,” according to the report. “On the front lines with customers and prospects everyday, an overwhelming majority (88%) of social marketers understand the importance of customer service on social; nearly half (45%)
of consumer respondents have reached out to a company on social.”

Employee advocacy is the new influencer marketing. Social marketers in 2018 see the value in employee advocacy as a cost-effective, scalable alternative to influencer marketing. Seventy-one percent of social marketers use employees as influencers or advocates today or want to in the future, while only 19% of marketers surveyed had the budget for an influencer program. This shift reflects consumer tastes: 61% of consumers said they would be more likely to research a product or service recommended on social by a friend vs. 36% for influencers/celebrities.

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Sourced from MediaPost