What Consumers Actually Want to See

What consumers actually want to see. Based on data from the Hootsuite 2024 Consumer Survey.

When it comes to social media, understanding what makes consumers tick is essential for brands aiming to build meaningful connections and drive engagement. The Hootsuite 2024 Consumer Survey provides fascinating insights into consumer behavior and preferences, shedding light on what content resonates most with users and what drives them to follow—or unfollow—a brand.

Here’s a summary of what we discovered:

What Drives Unfollows?

Consumers are quick to hit the unfollow button when brands commit certain social media sins. According to the Hootsuite survey, actions such as angling for metrics, repetitive content, boring content, inauthentic content, and clickbait are the primary culprits driving users away. It’s a stark reminder for brands to prioritize authenticity, creativity, and genuine engagement over vanity metrics and shallow tactics.

  • Angling for metrics: 63%
  • Repetitive Content: 68%
  • Boring Content: 68%
  • Inauthentic content: 68%
  • Clickbait: 76%

Cultural Areas Brands Should Approach with Caution

Consumers have strong opinions about the topics brands should steer clear of on social media. From religion and politics to gender identification and sexuality, there are several cultural minefields brands must navigate carefully.

  • Marginalized Communities: 20%
  • Health, Healthcare, and wellness: 12%
  • Social and Economic inequality: 15%
  • Racial Equity: 24%
  • Criminal Justice Process: 21%
  • Ethical Business Practices: 10%
  • Gender Identification and Sexuality: 31%
  • Charitable Causes: 15%
  • Religion and Spirituality: 37%
  • Environmental Concerns: 12%
  • Educational Practices: 11%
  • Political Policies: 46%

What Consumers Want from Brands

When it comes to content preferences, consumers have clear expectations. They crave novelty, inspiration, humor, and emotional connection. Brands that deliver something new, inspiring, funny, or visually engaging are more likely to capture and retain their audience’s attention. From informative posts to entertaining content, brands have a ton of opportunities to engage their followers authentically.

  • Tells or teaches me something new: 56%
  • Makes me laugh: 55%
  • Inspires me: 47%
  • Visually engages me: 36%
  • Makes me feel something: 36%
  • Surprises me: 30%

When Brands Should Join the Social Media Conversation

Brands have a unique opportunity to connect with their audience by joining timely conversations on social media. Understanding when and where consumers prefer brand engagement is crucial for maximizing impact and fostering meaningful interactions.

  • 55% during major sporting events.
  • 47% during pop culture moments.
  • 45% during unfolding news stories.
  • 43% during social justice movements.
  • 31% during political events.

Why People Follow

Understanding what resonates with consumers is key for brands looking to build a strong online presence. From authentic communication to engaging content and timely responsiveness, consumers have clear preferences when it comes to brand behavior.

Most Appealing

  • Communicating in a relatable and authentic way: 65%
  • Posting content that inspires me: 57%
  • Having a compelling point of view within their area of expertise: 56%
  • Responding to direct questions and comment in a timely way: 53%
  • Making an effort to say or do things creatively or in an entertaining way: 50%
  • Having good vibes or a visual aesthetic I am into: 50%
  • Having interesting things to say about the world beyond their product or services: 37%
  • Maintaining an active social presence by consistently posting and interacting: 36%

Gen Z vs. Baby Boomers

When deciding to follow a brand on social media, both Gen Z and Baby Boomers prioritize authentic communication and inspiring content. However, Gen Z places greater importance on aesthetic appeal and creativity, while Baby Boomers value expertise and responsiveness. Brands must strike a balance between these factors to attract and retain followers across demographics.

Gen-Z

  • Communicating in a relatable and authentic way: 63%
  • Posting content that inspires me: 48%
  • Having a compelling point of view within their area of expertise: 51%
  • Responding to direct questions and comment in a timely way: 49%
  • Making an effort to say or do things creatively or in an entertaining way: 55%
  • Having good vibes or a visual aesthetic I am into: 58%
  • Having interesting things to say about the world beyond their product or services: 38%
  • Maintaining an active social presence by consistently posting and interacting: 42%

Baby Boomers

  • Communicating in a relatable and authentic way: 73%
  • Posting content that inspires me: 66%
  • Having a compelling point of view within their area of expertise: 62%
  • Responding to direct questions and comment in a timely way: 63%
  • Making an effort to say or do things creatively or in an entertaining way: 43%
  • Having good vibes or a visual aesthetic I am into: 44%
  • Having interesting things to say about the world beyond their product or services: 33%
  • Maintaining an active social presence by consistently posting and interacting: 23%

Final Thoughts

When it comes to social media, understanding consumer behavior is so important for brands aiming to stand out. By prioritizing authenticity, creativity, and relevance, brands can build a loyal following and drive engagement that transcends just the metrics. As consumer behavior continues to evolve, staying attuned to these insights will be the key to success in the world of social media.

Source: Hootsuite 2024 Consumer Survey

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