Last month, we shared with you a collection of statistics and strategies from the latest Sprout Social Trends Index. At GroupTwo we believe in continued education, and that also means for managers! So, we thought we would conduct a deeper dive into one of the biggest struggles in the game: getting leadership to be culturally relevant on social media. A recent business advisory survey shows that fewer than half of all S&P 500 and FTSE 350 CEOs have a social media presence, and only a quarter have posted anything over the past year; simply put, they don’t find social media necessary. But in today’s online world, trends can gain and lose popularity within 24 hours, making it incredibly difficult for social media managers to stay on top while also aligning with approval from leadership teams that pay little attention. According to the Sprout Social 2022 Index, 71% of consumers think it’s important for brands to take a culturally relevant stance on social media, a 7.6% increase from 2017 – so what is keeping management from going with the flow?
“Culturally relevant” can be a scary phrase – social media is built off the opinions of millions of different people, who all want to hear and see different things from their brands. Some of the top markers for cultural relevance on social media, according to Sprout Social, are “speaking out and embracing social issues,” and “leveraging pop culture in their social content.” With so many possible barriers, it makes sense that leadership is often hesitant to make a move; 64% of consumers will turn to boycotting a brand or company based on their stance on certain social and cultural issues, and with infinite opinions to sort through, it can be difficult to please everyone. Even just one viral tweet can turn the tides of consumer opinion. Diversity, inclusion, authenticity, intentionality, and knowing your consumer are the keys to 2022 social media. While the homebuilding industry doesn’t exactly offer the easiest platform when it comes to creating content with relevant memes and references, that is what social media teams exist for, and having to explain lighting-fast trends to leadership that has no knowledge of current online culture only pushes a brand further into being left behind.
One of the biggest factors that keeps upper management from embracing social media strategies is their own personal lack of a social media presence. A 2016 study across the six major platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube) showed that over 60% of Fortune 500 CEOs had zero social media accounts of any kind. Since then, most have made the jump to Linkedin, but active Instagram and Youtube accounts sit at an astonishing 3.4%. A truly social media-conscious leader can be so rare that a new term, “blue unicorn”, has popped up… because this kind of figure is so uncommon, you’re not just looking for a unicorn, you’re looking for a specific color of unicorn. Leaders who are slow to recognize the transparency and credibility that good social media can provide are being left in the dust as the younger generations enter the workforce, armed with years of online presence. And it’s now even more apparent that it won’t just be the higher-ups who see loss with a lack of social media; the homebuilding industry relies heavily on word of mouth, and in a world that is chronically online, most reviews and recommendations are found in comment sections. If leadership is not paying attention to feedback across different social media channels, how can they expect their company to grow, expand, and adapt? The solution to this is easy. Create your company’s social media today, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram! Pay attention to comments and reviews, and take action with dissatisfaction. Create content with a consistent message that captures your brand. And most importantly, share that content across your network – remember, you’re proud of what you do, and you want your consumers to know that!
Social media is a hungry, intimidating force that has quickly become a massive marketing weapon (when done correctly). To leadership looking to improve their brand relevance, listen to the young generations! Gen Z is ready to work, and with 87% having had access to high-speed internet for most of their lives, they are well equipped to help usher in new strategies and practices. Learn to take advantage and change perspective, or be left in the tracks of a blue unicorn who will.
Written by: Madeline Farmer