Social Hasn't Realized Its Inbound Potential (Yet)

There will likely come a time when the importance of the inbound messages a brand receives on the various social media networks outweigh the outbound messages a brand sends to get people to their site, buy or stay top of mind.

While we're not there yet, the latest Sprout Social Index found that millennials (ages 18-34) are twice as likely as any other generation to turn to social, rather than phone or email, to communicate with a brand with 30 percent of this demographic engaging with a brand they follow on a monthly basis compared to 32 percent of Gen X (ages 34-54) who do so as well. When it comes to baby boomers (ages 55-plus), they mainly observe with only 14 percent regularly starting a dialogue or interaction with a brand.


As millennials and their even younger counterparts get more buying power, the shift from social being a powerful outbound platform to a critical inbound one is bound to happen. Brands need to actively listen and respond to queries made on social networks to have younger demographics remain loyal. As of now, only 1 in 10 social messages actually get a response from a brand according to Sprout Social's report, which is based on 280,000 public social profiles including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Other interesting findings from the Index include: 

¬¨¬®‚Äö√†√´  Facebook is the most popular network for 43 percent of respondents.

¬¨¬®‚Äö√†√´  Gen Xers are twice as likely to unfollow a brand that says something offensive or in opposition to their personal beliefs than any other generation. Millennials unfollow because they had a bad experience (21 percent) or because they found a brand's social marketing annoying (22 percent). Baby Boomers? Too much spam causes 29 percent to take direct action and opt-out.