Type ‘social media’ in the Google search bar and you’ll see words like ‘questions beliefs’, ‘leads to depression’ and ‘who are you really engaging with’. In fact, per Google Trends, queries like ‘social media harms your mental health’ and ‘social media seriously harms your mental health’ have risen in the last 12 months, by +5,000% and +4,000% respectively.
It’s hardly surprising that topical headlines have centred on the dangers of screen time, especially to the minds of children.
Interested in the debate, OnBuy.com analysed a report by Mindshare entitled Trends 2019, which holds quantitative research from more than 6,000 consumers aged 18+ across the UK, plus social and search insights to help define themes. OnBuy discovered the recent questioning of social media is mirrored in a change in consumer behaviour.
In 2019, 66% of consumers are sharing less about their lives on social media. Alternately, 58% of consumers are doing more to monitor someone else’s screen time (children, for example.) Further analysis revealed 59% of respondents find the prospect of social media companies running courses to educate children about how to use tech responsibly appealing.
An additional 61% of consumers are doing more to monitor their own screen time, with 51% of 18-34-year-olds proclaiming they would welcome pop-up messages on social media warning about excessive usage.
Some consumers have taken a stance on digital dieting one step further, and 66% have started to hide social media posts from people with views differing from their own, while 72% have begun to unfollow certain people and accounts altogether. Proving today, British consumers have little to no patience for social media content that makes them feel negative, depressed or uncertain.
Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com, commented: “Our dependence on digital platforms has left many with anxiety. It can make us feel distrustful, and rightly so. We know how easily data can be manipulated, how insidious fake news can be. At the same time, technology is beginning to lose its mystique.
“Take GDPR for example. Perhaps, for the first time, we feel more informed and aware. As a result, consumers are taking ownership of their data and social media pages are a great place to start. This is reflected in the data we have analysed; we are sharing less, monitoring usage and managing what we do and do not see.
“But, while it’s important to implement social safeguards, we can’t lose sight of the fact social media can be a fantastic tool for business and pleasure, when used appropriately and with care. Our focus should be on management and control; not banishment.”
Bearing this in mind, OnBuy has written four simple, easy-to-apply tips to help you produce authentic social media content for business that will not alarm today’s ‘woke’ consumers.
Find your voice
It’s important to develop a strong brand voice from the get-go. A strong brand voice will present a clear vision to clients or consumers and will keep communication consistent across the board. Naturally, your brand voice will vary according to many factors, be it age, gender, personality or tone, so it is important to reflect a voice that speaks to your target audience. Authenticity is key.
Make it personal
Following on from an authentic brand voice, make sure to follow through with all client and consumer correspondence. A personable approach can make all the difference in today’s world, where people are often batted off with AI bots and sculpted, standardised replies. Where possible, refrain from using automated responses and generic templates.
Have you spoken to this person before? Use their first name, ask them how they are. Does this person prefer to be contacted by email, Twitter or via a direct call? Cater your correspondence for effective results. Is this a regular consumer? Show recognition of their loyalty and go the extra mile. Is it a new client? Make them feel special and needed. Basically: it pays to pay attention.
It’s easy to get caught up in making a sale or achieving a conversion in every interaction. It is business after all. But don’t make it your angle. It’s important to present a range of social content to your consumer or client base. Yes, some posts will be targeted, with the hope to convert or sell quickly, but it’s imperative to mix in content that is simply supposed to connect with your audience.
If you create interesting and engaging content, which isn’t focused on profit, you will encourage positive interaction. This will make your audience feel they are part of your brand. If people feel they are a part of your brand, where’s the first place they will go when they need a service that you offer? Inclusivity encourages loyalty!
Be honest and transparent
Audiences today are savvy to fake news, photoshopped images and content that screams lies! People are more informed than ever before, and businesses need to take this into consideration across their social media platforms. Rebuke dishonest content, be truthful, be authentic, take your audience on a journey. A humanised brand is a respected one.
For example, if you are selling a product, make a video on Facebook about its journey from conception to creation. Feature what materials are used, how its manufactured, why the design speaks to consumers today. If your company provides a service, use Instagram to create a “story” that features a Q&A on what goes into creating your customer experience.
Find out what is the best, most interesting way to deliver bitesize, authentic, information direct to your consumer. The possibilities are endless.