Can brands use social media to heal a divided country?
That might be a stretch. Yet, a clear majority of consumers (78%) say they would like to see more brand use social to bring people together.
That finding -- included in a new report from Sprout Social -- suggests that consumers are looking to brands to rise above the current state of cultural discourse.
That’s partly because so many people have lost faith in political leaders to bring the country together. In fact, 72% of people now blame politicians for the divided state of the country.
And, while 55% of people blame social media for sowing cultural discord, an even greater share (62%) believe social can unify people of different backgrounds and beliefs.
Additionally, nearly two thirds (64%) of consumers say they want brands to connect with them, while about half (49%) expect brands to bring people together toward a common goal, Sprout found.
More broadly, few consumers dispute the power of social platforms to shape their perceptions and behavior, the social marketing firm found.
Indeed, when asked which communication channels give brands the best opportunity to connect with their customers, Sprout’s 1,000 respondents ranked social media as number one.
What’s more, when customers feel connected to brands, more than half of consumers (57%) say they will increase their spending with that brand, while 76% will buy from them over a competitor.
When asked to reflect on their relationship with brands, two thirds of consumers equate feeling connected with “trust.”More to the point, 53% of people say they feel connected when that brand’s values align with their own, while more than half (51%) say their relationship with a brand starts when they feel the brand understands them and their desires.