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What to Consider Before Your Brand Takes a Stance
As brands feel a growing pressure to become more involved in consumers’ lives, it is important your brand looks at the big picture before taking a leap. For the past several years, most brands avoided controversial subjects at all costs. Today, many brands are choosing to take part in these conversations to form meaningful connections with like-minded consumers.
Now, before digging into whether engaging with your audiences’ beliefs is right for your brand, let’s look at the numbers. Sprout Social surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers to better understand how people want brands to communicate their positions and engage in conversations on political and social issues.
Although it showed people are eager to hear from brands about more than just products and services, the key findings indicated that brands still walk a fine line when speaking out on social media. The first big message for brands? Consumers want to hear from them. Sixty-six percent say they want brands to engage in social and political issues, with a majority citing social media as the best channel for it.
However, even though consumers want to hear from brands, they aren’t willing to change their minds. Sixty-six percent of people said posts from brands rarely or never influence their opinions. While this number is important to consider when deciding if your brand’s voice needs to engage, it also reflects how important it is to know your brand’s audience and what they value or relate to among your products and services. Because from these numbers, it was also found that brands can effect change.
As brands appear more frequently on social media every day, it poses a continuing challenge for them to appear authentic and personable. Sprout Social’s survey discovered how to help brands with this issue. Thirty-nine percent of respondents believe brands are more effective on social media when they announce donations to specific causes or encourage followers to take steps to support causes. This can be as simple as showcasing your brands already existing investments and actions around an issue or overall initiative that motivates change in the community. In other words, don’t take a position just to have one.
Now that we’ve looked at the numbers, let’s focus on being smart marketers who choose when to engage, if at all. Here are five things to consider before engaging with your audiences’ beliefs.
1. Why should they care?
This is the most important question every marketer should ask regarding their brand’s audience. Make sure you consider how relevant a topic is to your consumers and how the issue directly reflects your business practices. If there is no link here, there is no need to engage. The last thing you want as a brand is to be seen as inauthentic or irrelevant.
2. Pick a platform.
If your brand chooses to engage the conversation, further evaluate your audience to determine the best platform. As we learned from Sprout Social’s survey, most consumers believe social media is the place. Even as brands continue to get involved on social media at an increasing rate, make sure it’s right for your audience.
3. Don’t just talk about it, do it.
As mentioned above, always go a step farther when sharing your brand’s position. Your audience wants to hear more than just talk. Share what your brand has done to directly make a difference and set an example to followers as you encourage them to take their own action.
4. Remember what you’re selling.
While it can be beneficial to engage your like-minded consumers, don’t forget that they are here for your products and services. Be careful to not over saturate your brand’s messaging with social posts. Sixty-three percent of consumers say that brands should keep these posts to about 1-5 percent.
5. Is it worth it?
With every leap of faith there is great risk. Research your audience and determine what this risk could be. Then, decide if it is worth it. While brands are not likely to change the consumers’ minds about their existing beliefs, brands can still garner a reaction from consumers. Whether it is a stronger emotional tie or inspiration, make sure it is positive before moving forward.
As brands continue to grow closer to the consumer, ensure yours is an authentic approach that reflects your brand identity.