Americans prefer sharing life's milestones with their social network than in person

If we are moving to sharing most of our lives online, then brands are moving to take advantage of our behaviour.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

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The rise of social media has forged a seismic shift in the way people share life's milestones with friends and family. More and more of us are announcing our significant events online on social platforms.

This information is useful for brand marketers who can use the information to calculate what sort of milestones will encourage consumers to share brand information alongside their significant events.

The data team at social media management company Sprout Social has surveyed more than 1,200 Americans to learn what prompts consumers to mention a brand in a post on a life milestone.

According to the Sprout Q4 2017 Index report, US consumers prefer to share life's big moments on social media.

In fact, 79 percent of US consumers want to share their events across social compared to in person (75 percent), text (72 percent), or phone (71 percent).

Facebook is the platform they use to share these milestones, with 94 percent of respondents saying it was their preferred platform.

Almost all social Americans prefer to share their life updates via social than face-to-face.

Additionally, one in three Americans would mention a brand in a personal accomplishment on social to recognise the part the brand played in the event.

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Brands therefore have a big opportunity to be included in the celebration posts about holidays and vacations that are shared by approximately two-thirds of Americans, according to the survey.

Americans prefer sharing life's milestones with their social network than in person ZDnet
(Image: Sprout Social)

People are most likely to share details of their holiday season celebrations with friends and family, with 66 percent saying they would share this on social media.

Bad news and highly emotional events, such as death, divorce, or separation, also gets shared across social. Around 47 percent would share news of a death on social platforms, and 11 percent would share information about divorce or separation.

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Over half of consumers (51 percent) use Facebook to ask for recommendations and research products.

This is more than Pinterest (42 percent) and YouTube (34 percent). Millenial consumers (35 percent) use Instagram for their recommendations.

Americans prefer sharing life's milestones with their social network than in person ZDnet
(Image: Sprout Social)

When looking at the reasons why people share on social, over half (54 percent) want their network to share the event with them. Others (42 percent ) share information in order to provide helpful information to others in their network.

Users start to ask for recommendations on social, and, as their relationship with brands grow, they then start to share brand recommendations with their network.

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Brands can take advantage of this by ensuring their marketing is customer centric and engaging, so that user contributors can be showcased by brands during campaigns.

Tapping into user motivations can go along way to ensuring audience connection and long-term brand advocates.

Brands need to listen to what their customers are telling them -- across all social platforms.

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