This isn't new news but a topic of continual conversation. The U.S. and the world at large have been experiencing record high price increases across the market board. U.S. Inflation Rate is 8.54%, compared to 7.87% last month and 2.62% last year. This traction is the highest since December 1981. The concerns over how high it will go and how much more it will erode discretionary funds are also growing. Consumer confidence has hit an all-time low.
Another first has occurred amid all this history in the making. Similar to the pandemic, this is the first inflation hike of great significance that the nation has experienced in the face and space of social media. For the first time, the population has a vehicle that enables us to communicate our attitudes, perspectives, vantage points, hopes, and fears about skyrocketing prices. Social media has given the world a platform to share our inflation thoughts and its impacts. Whether an individual or an organization, social media is here to give voice to all those who care to share.
Every institution should gear up to leverage social media in two primary ways. We're confident you are already positioned and poised to do so, but just in case, here it is. The first is to listen well to what your audience is saying regarding inflation. Next is to use it as a gateway to deliver to your audience what they need during these scary times. Unlike the inflation of 40 years ago, businesses can eliminate the mystery of trying to solve for X while trying to keep their customers connected, engaged, and spending with their brand. We can go directly to our audience, get the answer, and return to our "test" to apply the best solution.
Social listening platforms go such a long way. Organizations can track their top followers to understand how they interact with the company's social platforms as well as uncover how they engage with social media overall. Your top social media personas are crafted from active listening and should greatly inform strategies and campaigns deployed. Keep in mind that you can't listen to every single follower, but you want to keep a close watch on those you consider the brand's #1 fan. Your social media persona is the follower that engages with most of your content. You see them liking, commenting, and sharing posts. They are moving from social viewing to taking actions. They click on links, go to your website, and conversion occurs. Do not let this follower out of your sight.
More than likely, what we are sharing isn't a revelation, so then, how does listening change amidst an inflated market? Not too much. It's more of the same with an elevated and laser-focused approach. Learn what your top followers think about the price surges. Where are they discussing it, and what they are saying about it. You are on a need-to-know basis, and your audience has insight into what you need to know. Gather as much as you can regarding their views on the topic. Then use it! Pour it right back into your social media approach going forward because it works.
Peter Suciu authored the Forbes article, Despite Record Inflation Social Media Is Encouraging Americans To Spend. In the article, he states, "U.S. shoppers are continuing to spend—and social media continues to be a major factor on where Americans are taking their business. According to a new survey conducted by Point and OnePoll, more than one in three respondents said they considered social media "very influential" when it comes to their spending habits. One factor cited was the pressure to "keep up with the Joneses," with 35 percent of respondents agreeing."
Social media has an influence. It dictates and shapes our outlook, molds and inspires our desires, and motivates and drives our actions. It hasn't just changed the way we transact, but it has also altered what informs our beliefs and urges. Our job is to learn what has changed and what has been revised, then onward in developing stories and messaging that follows suit. If social media helps dictate your audience's actions, our job is to use it to inform their next move.
It's a beautiful game of marketing chess. Think six to seven moves ahead, which can only be done through active listening. Any good chess player knows the game is not a sprint but a marathon. Take the time to understand your audience's frame of mind and use it to serve them well. Allow what you hear to deliver you the checkmate you need to continue to drive business forward.
Want to learn more about how to impactful use social media to break through the inflation barrier? Join THuS Marketing and a panel of savvy social media experts for an online event hosted by Rowan Tree. Want a discount on registration? Contact THuS Marketing for a code!