What does the social media world look like right now?

What are social media marketers facing these days?

Today’s social media landscape is highly complex. With the proliferation of social media networks, ongoing algorithm changes, and Google updates, it’s becoming harder and harder for social media marketers to navigate the increasingly fragmented consumer journey on social and win the attention of social media users.

Why does this report matter?

Given how complicated the world of the social media marketer is, it can be hard to stay up to date with all the industry trends and build them into your social media marketing strategy. This report will cover all the latest trends, benchmarks, insights, and pro tips you need to create a successful social media marketing plan.

Preview of some of the major findings from the report

01

On average, a brand’s own tweets only account for 3% of all brand-related conversations on Twitter, giving brands little opportunity to steer the brand narrative developing across social media.

02

Categorizing topics and conversations by emotions can serve as guidance for social media professionals involved in brand monitoring online. But besides tracking negative sentiment for crisis management, social media marketers can also capitalize on what brings consumers joy.

03

A misalignment of brand and consumer values is a big topic discussed by consumers on social media.

04

By aligning their brand strategy and social media efforts with growing consumer appetite for sustainability and ethical products, even traditionally conservative industries like the energy sector can generate positive conversations on social media.

05

Taking risks and showing off personality can set a brand on the path to virality on social media.

06

While Tuesdays and Thursdays accumulate the highest percentage of brand mentions on average on Twitter, alcohol brands generate more brand mentions on Mondays than any other day of the week.

07

No response is a response. If your brand stays quiet on matters that are important to consumers, it could be perceived as a response on its own — and not in the brand’s favor.

Our Methodology



We used Brandwatch Consumer Research to analyze top brands in 15 different industries and sectors including airline, alcohol, automotive, CPG, consumer tech, energy, entertainment, fashion, health, hotels, retail, food service (restaurants/fast food), pharma, financial services, and telecoms.

The total number of brand queries analyzed is 546.

Throughout this report, we’ve mentioned several brands that went viral. How did we determine the virality of the aforementioned brands? We used Brandwatch’s AI assistant Iris to determine viral triggers in conversations, comprising the list of viral topics and brands.

A brief note on our approach



What can social media marketers (SMMs) learn from our analysis of over 523 million social data mentions? Read on and discover how different brands use social media and how your brand can leverage various industry insights, including benchmarks and metrics from engagement to sentiment.

Keep reading, as each section has unique takeaways and inspiration every SMM can benefit from, regardless of the industry.

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Featuring

Ksenia Newton

Marketing Content Specialist

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Section 2

Brand-consumer interaction on social

How do consumers and brands interact on social media?

Every industry deals with distinct audiences and demands.

Some sectors can benefit from social media by simply publishing content consumers enjoy and getting their messages retweeted to a broader audience (notice the fashion, alcohol, and entertainment industries in the chart below).

Other sectors like automotive, airline, and food service may use social media to provide a customer support-like function, responding to consumers and dealing with complaints.

The following analysis illustrates the unique ways that brands and consumers interact with each other on Twitter across sectors.

Social media interactions on twitter by industry

Brandwatch data shows that retail, pharma, and energy brands generate the highest percentage of consumer-initiated conversations. Apparently, people like to tweet about these industries more than others.

As an example, 83% of conversations about retail brands are initiated by consumers, whereas only 12% are replies to brands’ own tweets. Comparatively, in the food industry, consumers’ original tweets accounted for only 56% of the entire conversation, whereas responses to the brand’s own tweets play a much bigger role at 28%.

This may mean that consumers discussing brands in the food sector are a lot more engaged as an audience, which could be advantageous for the food brands looking to launch new products or campaigns, as well as those looking for some feedback.

Twitter has long been a key customer support channel that enables brands to connect with their audience, providing timely – if not in real-time – support and taking some pressure off their call centers.

This is particularly evident in conversations about the automotive, food service, and airline industries. The three of them generate the highest volume of audience replies on Twitter relative to their overall conversation.

Fashion, entertainment, and alcoholic beverages brands generated the highest percentage of retweets relative to their overall conversation. This may very well be rooted in a different marketing strategy: prioritizing creating well-crafted, visually beautiful content intended for sharing and, potentially, having bigger marketing budgets

Telecoms and food service brands also seemed to generate a higher percentage of brand mentions relative to their overall conversation than the other 13 studied industries

Across industries, on average, brand-owned accounts initiate approximately 3% of the conversation around their brands (brand-owned tweets).

Yet, that distribution varies. For example, telecommunication brands generate about 8% of the conversations, while tweets from brands in the pharma sector account for less than 1%

Brands publish just 3% of all brand-related conversation on Twitter

Why does this matter? Because it hammers home that brands only own a tiny fraction of the overall narrative that surrounds them online.

Brand initiated tweets are accounted for 3 percent of all brand related conversation

How do brands make people feel?

And what does this mean to your social media team?

Understanding the emotions displayed in consumer conversations about brands online can be advantageous for social media professionals when iterating their strategy or brainstorming new social media campaigns and overall messaging.

How do people express their emotions in brand-related discussions?

Consumer emotions in converations on social media by industry

Fashion and retail were by far the happiest sectors, with joy leading more than 60% of all brand-related conversations relative to their overall conversation.

On the other hand, telecoms, consumer tech, and airline brands generated the highest volumes of angry mentions, with 49%, 42%, and 41% of mentions, respectively.

The energy and pharma sectors accumulated the highest number of sad mentions, with 28% and 25% of all conversations, respectively.

With 28% of all conversations, CPG and food service share the first place of having the most mentions categorized as disgust of any industry.

While benchmarks can be helpful, these numbers shouldn’t be looked at as static. For example, by changing the date range we noticed how angry mentions around healthcare brands changed dramatically.

Pro tip

Emotion-categorized topics in conversations can serve as guidance for social media professionals involved in brand monitoring online. Discovering emotions that drive consumers to and away from brands can help brands’ social media teams anticipate and match consumer expectations.

Take the airline sector, for example. The last two years were rough, and one of the biggest topics in industry conversations today is flight cancelations.

And while social media managers can’t do much about flights getting canceled, they might be able to keep customers in the loop with up-to-date information about where to go and what to do on their social pages.

Consumers often turn to social media for information, so engaging with them where they are is important to building a sound and sustainable relationship with your customers. This might keep the negative mentions at bay or offer some control if a situation occurs.

But besides reading into negative emotions, social media marketers can also capitalize on what brings consumers joy.

How does consumer sentiment compare across industries?

Fashion and retail were by far the happiest sectors, with joy leading more than 60% of all brand-related conversations relative to their overall conversation.

On the other hand, telecoms, consumer tech, and airline brands generated the highest volumes of angry mentions, with 49%, 42%, and 41% of mentions, respectively.

The energy and pharma sectors accumulated the highest number of sad mentions, with 28% and 25% of all conversations, respectively.

With 28% of all conversations, CPG and food service share the first place of having the most mentions categorized as disgust of any industry.

While benchmarks can be helpful, these numbers shouldn’t be looked at as static. For example, by changing the date range we noticed how angry mentions around healthcare brands changed dramatically.

Discover

Monitor sentiment of conversations across your social media channels with Engage.

Explore Engage

What has been influencing market sentiment and consumer attitudes towards brands and sectors?

Share of sentiment by industry
Here’s what we found
  • As you can see on the chart, the online sentiment surrounding food service and airline companies was more often negative than compared to any other industry. For food services, 25% of the mentions were negative, and for airlines, 21% were negative.
  • Airline brands also saw the lowest volume of positive mentions, with only 6% of all sentiment-categorized mentions being positive. Actually, one aviation brand managed to stand out with low-cost LOLs for Gen Zers, but more on that is below.
  • On the other hand, the alcohol sector has seen the highest share of positive mentions between January 1-June 30 2022, with 16% of sentiment-categorized mentions as positive.
Pro tip

Sentiment analysis of online conversations can help social media marketers retrieve information about consumers’ perceptions, emotions, and opinions about your brand.

Similarly, share of sentiment can serve as a temperature check to help teams across the organization — from crisis management and PR teams to marketing, social media, and product teams — adjust their strategies and next steps in a situation.

Who’s driving consumer conversation, by occupation?

Knowing your audience inside and out can help SMMs craft compelling social media messages and stories. So, we looked at how consumer occupations may differ depending on the industry.

And the differences between the people within different segments become especially evident when we compare the sector-specific data to the average.

Top consumer occupations by industry

In the following section, we’ll discuss key insights and brand perceptions relating to each industry.

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Section 3

Industry
spotlights

In this section, we’ll look closely at each industry, revealing valuable insights specific to each market.

We also uncover key takeaways so social media marketers can adapt and leverage their strategy.

    Airlines sector 4 minutes read

    The airline audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    We used Brandwatch’s ‘Ready to Use Social Panels’ to analyze English-language conversations relating to 40 big airline brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z. 

    Here’s the percent breakdown of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers account for 2.62%
    • Gen X, 16.42%
    • Gen Y, 29.78%
    • Gen Z, 51.18%

    Besides the demographic background, social data can also aid social media marketers in understanding how their audience is segmented, the differences between the people within those segments, and what else their consumers care about. 

    For example, what are consumers who are discussing the airline sector also interested in? Here’s the breakdown of what other topics this group is interested in:

    • Sports
    • Family and parenting
    • Politics
    • Business

    Pro tip: What’s in it for the industry social media manager?

    In some cases, social data can support marketing assumptions, such as who makes up the frequent flyer base or who’d be more likely to engage in conversations relating to airline brands. In this case, looking at other interests and, perhaps, reviewing occupations of consumers who discuss airline brands, could better guide SMMs when crafting social media marketing campaigns. 

    Airline brands go viral on social media for all the wrong reasons

    It’s important to note that, due to COVID-related restrictions and the pandemic aftermath, the airline sector has been generating a high proportion of negative mentions compared to other sectors we studied. Many brands went viral for reasons unrelated to their marketing efforts.

    There were several topics consumers passionately discussed in negative sentiment-categorized conversations relating to the sector, including lost luggage and a busy customer support line.

    And while, oftentimes due to circumstances beyond their control, airline brands are unable to live up to consumer expectations, joining those conversations and addressing consumer frustration on social media is paramount. More than anything, consumers are looking for clear communication from airlines, and no response is a response. Not joining the conversation can be very costly for brands, affecting not only brand reputation, but also the bottom line.

    A misalignment of brand and consumer values was another topic discussed by consumers in related conversations.

    Your brand is not only what you create of it online; it’s also – and mostly – the perception of your brand, or what people make of your brand on their own. 

    Lastly, some direct feedback from this consumer addresses the brand’s marketing department with a piece of advice:

    How to win on social media: Ryanair’s success story

    Despite a high level of negativity in conversations relating to the airline sector, there were certainly moments of lightheartedness and humor that Ryanair has successfully leveraged, landing the company at the first spot in the list of the top five airline brands, by audience @ mentions. 

    What can social media professionals learn from Ryanair’s social interactions?

    The brand’s approach to social is definitely unique, and it’s not for everyone. 

    @ryanair Welcome back to the party 😈 #ryanair ♬ original sound - Ryanair

    Ryanair’s social media team often:

    • Takes risks
    • Puts out bold messages and responses 
    • Shows off a strong personality on Twitter – that gained Ryanair massive engagement on the brand’s recent tweets. 
    Alcoholic beverages sector 4 minutes read

    With the help of Consumer Research, we visualized the most popular topics in consumer discussions relating to this sector to identify a few we could further look into.

    Looking at this topic cloud helped us pick several subtopics to further slice the industry conversation. 

    What attributes have been on the tips of the tongues of consumers? We’ll go with these five popular conversation drivers (the ideas taken from the word cloud):  

    1. Experience
    2. Price
    3. Premium
    4. Sustainability
    5. Cocktails

    In the last two years, there has been a steady upward trend for all five categories, but it’s especially evident for sustainability.

    What does this mean for industry social media professionals?

    Joining relevant conversations and educating consumers on the topics that concern them most can win approval from consumers and help build brand loyalty.

    We also looked into the most popular alcoholic beverages and spirits to see which were discussed the most in the last six months.

    What drove this conversation, and what SMMs can learn from it?

    The beer conversation saw nearly twice as many mentions as the second most-popular category – vodka. 

    We looked into the triggers in the beer conversation and saw a lot of engagement around the tweets that showed the brand-behind-the-scenes type of content.

    One such example is a tweet by a former Guinness employee that many Twitter users could relate to. 

    Showing the human side of the brand from behind the scenes gained this social media professional plenty of engagement on his tweet – in fact, this tweet received more engagement than the official brand’s announcement

    Pro tip:

    The practice of humanizing the brand and getting personal with consumers on social can help social media marketers strengthen the identity of their brand, and connect with consumers on an emotional level – all while building loyalty and advocacy.

    Success on social media: Chivas Regal goes viral 

    You might think that the number of followers defines how a brand will perform on social, and its engagement. Yet the right moment can transform even a smaller brand into a household name.

    We used Brandwatch’s AI assistant, Iris, to search through several billion brand-related posts, identifying the most talked-about moments and the brands behind them.

    In March 2022, K-pop star and Blackpink’s member Lisa made the news about becoming the new brand ambassador for Chivas Regal in Asia. The whiskey brand went viral, taking the top five hashtag places and accumulating a lot of engagement. Just take a look at these numbers:

    How did the brand’s social media marketing team achieve this? Their tactics included:

    • Influencer marketing
    • Celebrity endorsement
    • Brand ambassadorship
    • Launching unique branded hashtags
    • The behind-the-scene type of content

    The brand’s social media team is very keen on sharing behind-the-scenes videos with Lisa, and this tactic seems to be embraced by the target audience on social media. 

    Top five most-mentioned alcohol brands

    Which alcohol brand received the most brand mentions in the first six months of this year? 

    According to Brandwatch data, Budweiser, Heineken, Martell, Skol, and Stella Artois were tagged the most by consumers on Twitter between January 1 and June 30 2022. 

    Interestingly enough, the data suggests that consumer engagement doesn’t always correlate with a high number of followers or the brand’s activity on social. 

    Pro tip:

    For SMMs who manage accounts with fewer followers, using hashtags strategically can be the thing that ensures your content is seen by the masses. 

    Automotive sector 3 minutes read

    The automotive sector audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    We analyzed English-language conversations relating to the 48 biggest automotive brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z.

    Here’s the percent breakdown of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers make up 1.72%
    • Gen X, 11.02%
    • Gen Y, 26.58%
    • Gen Z, 60.68%

    Now let’s take a look at what consumers engaging in conversations relating to the automotive sector are also interested in. Here’s the breakdown of their interests:

    • 14% are interested in sports
    • Family and parenting, 10%
    • Technology, 7%
    • Business, 9%

    Pro tip: What’s in it for the industry social media manager?

    Demographics are a key part of your marketing strategy, and knowing more data points about your target audience and understanding your market on a deeper level can be very beneficial in aiding social media campaign planning and optimization. 

    What to do when you go viral for all the wrong reasons

    Oftentimes, brands go viral when their actions and civic positions are viewed as controversial or unethical by the public. And auto brands are not an exception to this rule. A misstep on social media can cause anger and backlash among consumers and turn costly to the business.

    Failure to have a nuanced understanding of your audience and their political stance can have consequences for brands, from getting negative press to losing money and future business. Becoming a proactive ‘social listener’, by listening closely to your audience and understanding their concerns on an intimate level, can help social media marketing teams spot early signs of an emerging crisis and plan accordingly.

    Top 5 brands by audience @ mentions

    Top five hashtags in the automotive industry, by number of tweets

    Pro tip for SMMs: How did some of these brands land the top spots in the list?

    1. Appeal to the consumer on an emotional level. A video of a Tesla car on autopilot stopping itself, narrowly avoiding a disastrous accident went viral on social, prompting #tesla to trend on Twitter.
    2. Celebrity partnership over a cause. Hyundai partnered with BTS on the Goal of the Century campaign, with an ambitious mission “to unite the world of sustainability.” The campaign scored the brand not one, but three top spots on the most popular hashtags list. 
    Consumer tech sector 4 minutes read

    The consumer tech sector audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    We analyzed English-language conversations relating to 45 biggest consumer tech brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand what makes up the audience. 

    The data showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers account for 0.75% of the total audience
    • Gen X - 6.89%
    • Gen Y - 27.73%
    • Gen Z - 64.62%

    It’s interesting to note that baby boomers and Gen X are less interested in consumer tech than in topics relating to the airline and automotive industries. 

    What else consumers engaging in conversations relating to the consumer tech sector may be interested in? Here’s the breakdown of their interests:

    • Technology - 10%
    • Games - 10%
    • Sports - 10%
    • Business - 10%

    Looking at the generation-categorized breakdown above, you can take the audience segmentation one step further and use Social Panels to discover more niche insights around your target audience. Let’s look at the two generations with the highest number of mentions: millennials and Gen Z. 

    Now we have a more accurate idea of what the target audience might be interested in:

    • 16% of millennials are also interested in topics related to gaming
    • 13% of millennials are interested in family and parenting
    • 9% of millennials are interested in sports
    • 8% of millennials are also engaging in conversations relating to music

    By the same token, Gen Z’s interests span across the following areas:

    • 20% of Gen Zers are also interested in gaming
    • 12% are interested in fine arts
    • 9% are interested in music
    • 8% are interested in sports

    Gaming seemed to be the biggest topic of interest among both Gen Z and millennials. And social media teams can do the same with occupations to help further narrow down their social media marketing campaigns.

    Overall, looking at the demographics of your audience is a great place to start when building a campaign or mapping out a brand strategy. 

    What’s driving the consumer tech conversation?

    Gaming was one of the popular topics in sector-related conversations, with many consumers discussing popular gaming brands and in the context of E3 2022 and beyond. 

    Samsung Indonesia also made headlines in the first quarter of 2022, with the Galaxy S22 Series shoot, involving – you guessed it – BTS.

    Social media success story: Samsung + BTS go viral

    In the first week of August, the company introduced the next-generation foldable phone, along with brand-new, high-definition photos of BTS, the company's brand ambassadors. And BTS’ ARMY of fans couldn’t get enough of it, scoring the brand huge volumes of engagement on social and four spots in the list of top five most popular industry-related hashtags.

    Which brands received the most @ audience engagement on Twitter?

    Pro tip for SMMs:

    Brand partnerships, influencer marketing, and ambassadorship are all popular strategies for brands to engage consumers and build more awareness, and the consumer tech sector is not an exception. While not every brand can afford and sustain collaborations with larger influencers, depending on your product, a smaller influencer may be something to consider. 

    What else worked for the brands with the most engagement?

    • Branded hashtags that not only feature the brand name, but also include a newly launched product name, highlighting the main benefit for the consumer right in the hashtag – #Xiaomi11iHypercharge. The brand is also big on using ⚡ or the “high voltage sign” emoji next to the branded hashtag in tweets, for more visibility. 
    • Branded and product-referencing hashtags were also part of the marketing strategy for Huawei ZA, which used #HUAWEInovaY70Plus in the sweepstakes-like competition on Twitter. 
    CPG sector 4 minutes read

    The CPG sector audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    Our analysis of English-language conversations relating to 50 biggest CPG brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand what makes up the audience on social media. 

    Our data showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers make up 1.60% of the total audience
    • Gen X - 10.89%
    • Gen Y - 26.73%
    • Gen Z - 60.78%

    What are these consumers interested in besides topics relating to the CPG sector?

    • Sports - 13%
    • Family and parenting - 11%
    • Books - 8% 
    • Music - 8%

    What’s driving the CPG conversation?

    Super Bowl LVI was one of the biggest drivers of conversation, as the event is known for not just sport, but also brands – and often CPG brands – running creative ads while competing for the audience’s attention during one of the most watched events of the year. 

    This consumer’s tweet featuring a reusable water bottle filled with Diet Coke has gone viral. The irony of this post is that it’s a motivational bottle for people who try to challenge themselves to drink healthy amounts of water daily. The humor was picked up, generating a large volume of engagement for the user and lots of exposure for the brand.  

    Pro tip for SMMs:

    In today’s social climate, consumers in larger quantities embrace brands that address larger, civic issues, like diversity and inclusion, and those brands are typically perceived positively on social.

    For social media marketers, this can serve as a reminder that your audience is very diverse, and appealing to different segments can improve your brand image on social media and build loyalty. 

    Speaking of appealing to different audiences, this new Coke flavor came in a 90es-inspired can, gaining consumers’ approval (if the 90es were your thing).

    When your brand’s message resonates with consumers, they’ll stick around. Whether your social media team is working on a new campaign or one-off effort, crafting a compelling message, appealing to your consumers’ senses or good memories, will ensure consumer perceptions of your brand stay in line with your expectations. 

    Here’s another example of a brand’s message that resonated with the brand’s audience: 

    Social media success: Elon Musk + Coca-Cola go viral 

    Elon Musk is no stranger to going viral with his bold, and often, controversial statements on Twitter, and this tweet, expressing – probably jokingly – that next, he wants to “buy Coca-Cola and put the cocaine back in it”, has become the second most-liked tweet in the history of Twitter!

    Let’s look at the top five CPG brands, by audience @ mentions.

    Pro tip for SMM professionals:

    Who doesn’t like a free product, especially when the time investment is minimal? A lifestyle brand Lynx launched a giveaway on Twitter, exciting and engaging existing followers and attracting new ones with its shiny promise of a handful of free swag. 

    In fact, sweepstakes was a common tactic among several brands, landing them the top spots in the list of the most mentioned CPG brands, including Gillette and Pepsi. 

    Energy sector 2 minutes read

    The energy sector audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    Our analysis of English-language conversations relating to 27 biggest energy brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand what makes up the audience on social media.

    Our research showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers account for 4.38% of the total audience
    • Gen X - 22.12%
    • Gen Y - 27.03%
    • Gen Z - 46.47%

    What are these consumers interested in besides topics relating to the energy sector?

    Brandwatch’s Social Panels showed that:

    • Politics - 14%
    • Family and parenting - 11%
    • Sports - 11%
    • Business - 10%

    What’s driving the energy conversation?

    In general, the energy sector tends to get far more negative conversation compared to brands in other industries. Given the current political and socio-economic climate, the rising gas prices are one of the leading topics in discussions, with many energy brands trending in those conversations. 

    How can conservative industries like the energy sector cut through all the negativity and generate a positive conversation on social media?

    Social media success story: Petronas’ “Don’t throw, I can grow”

    Consumer appetite for sustainability and ethical products or services is growing, as well as the demands of brands to change their practices for the better. 

    With the “Passionate about progress” motto printed on a cotton bag, Petronas shop offers sets of plantable pens, pencils, and notepads for consumers to use the products as intended – and support the sustainability movement at the same time. 

    Neediness to say, this initiative has found a lot of appreciation among consumers, translating into positive social media engagement for the brand.

    Pro tip for SMMs:

    Even though traditionally known as conservative, the energy sector can find a way to bond with consumers over matters that are hugely important to them. Genuine, heartfelt messages that have an emotional appeal, can go a long way, printing a positive brand image in the minds of consumers. 

    Entertainment sector 2 minutes read

    The entertainment sector audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    Our analysis of English-language conversations relating to 31 of the world’s biggest entertainment brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand what makes up the audience on social media. 

    Brandwatch’s ‘Ready to Use Social Panels’ showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers account for 0.89% of the total audience
    • Gen X - 7.64%
    • Gen Y - 23.05%
    • Gen Z - 68.42%

    What else is this audience interested in?

    We analyzed the top interests of this audience, and here they are:

    • Sports - 14% 
    • Family and parenting - 10% 
    • Music - 10%
    • Books - 9%

    What’s driving the entertainment conversation?

    Streaming was one of the leading topics in consumer discussions relating to the entertainment sector. 

    And the news about BTS releasing their new album Proof in the final episode of #BTSRadio went viral, generating the most engagement on Twitter.

    The band secured the highest level of engagement compared to any other topics relating to the sector within the first six months of this year – thanks to the help of their BTS ARMY.Overall, K-pop dominated the conversation in the first half of the year, with all five top hashtags relating to artists of the genre. 

    Pro tip for SMMs:

    As defined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, The Tipping Point, back in 2000, “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” 

    Today’s business environment is highly competitive. And with consumer behavior more and more influencing how brands are perceived by the public, affecting the bottom line, brands need to cultivate their own “army” of followers who can then help the brands reach their tipping point on social media and beyond.

    Fashion sector 4 minutes read

    The fashion sector audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    Our analysis of English-language conversations relating to 31 massive fashion brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand what makes up the audience on social media. 

    Brandwatch data showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers account for 2.82% of the total audience
    • Gen X - 6.65%
    • Gen Y - 21.68%
    • Gen Z - 68.85%

    What else is this audience interested in?

    • Sports - 15% 
    • Family and parenting - 10% 
    • Music - 10%
    • Business - 8%

    What’s driving the fashion conversation?

    In the first half of the year, K-pop dominated conversations across multiple sectors, including the fashion industry, with many top luxury brands, like Prada and Dior, launching collaborations with trendy K-pop stars. One such collaboration involved Blackpink’s Jennie. Her tweet featuring a branded hashtag #JISOOxDiorFall22 went viral, generating 23k likes and over 11k retweets. 

    Going viral on social media: “Adidas, we hear your message loud and clear.”

    Earlier this year, Adidas found itself in hot water on social media after a public outcry over how differently brand-sponsored athletes are treated for their wrongdoings. 

    Here’s the gist: recently, Adidas canceled their sponsorship deal with Kurt Zouma after he was filmed kicking his pet cat. But the internet doesn’t forget and fans weren’t slow to make comparisons to the so-called ‘Suarez debacle.’ In 2011, Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing a fellow premier league player, and not two years later, in 2013, he admitted to biting another fellow player in the middle of a game. That, however, didn’t cost him his sponsorship deal with Adidas: only a stinging rebuke. 

    As a result, the social media backlash started, and this consumer’s post seemed to represent how many people felt about the hypocrisy: “[Adidas] We hear your message loud and clear.” 

    The point is: consistency is key. And while it may or may not be a fair comparison, social media managers should be prepared to move swiftly with an airtight communication plan to temper any negative perceptions and avoid repeating past criticisms. 

    Pro tip for SMMs: 

    Consumers are always closely watching brands and their actions. And while many brands are forced to pick sides, ultimately causing outrage within other groups of consumers, brands must communicate clearly with their audience to shape the brand’s perception in the public eye. Otherwise, the brand perception will be shaped without you. 

    Let’s look at the top five fashion brands, by audience @ mentions.

    While K-pop’s influence on fashion could be seen across most industry-related conversations, Calvin Klein saw the highest numbers. The brand’s campaign, featuring K-pop star Jennie, was not just highly relatable, it also created a sense of community and a bonding experience, suggesting consumers “explore their connections”. 

    Strengthening your bond with consumers through sharing insights from behind the scenes, appealing to and connecting on an emotional level, and providing consumers with a sense of community and belonging – all were winning strategies, gaining this luxury fashion brand high engagement numbers on social media and consumer approval. 

    Hashtags that made the top of the list. 

    Poshmark, placing #2 and #3, scored not one but two top spots in the list. The brand’s catchy #shopmycloset hashtag is very personal (“my closet”) and action-driven, getting the brand close to 830k mentions within the first six months of this year – up by almost 16% compared to the previous six-month period.

    Financial services sector 3 minutes read

    The financial services sector audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    In this section, we analyzed English-language conversations relating to 41 of the biggest financial services brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand what the audience makeup looks like on social media. 

    Our data showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers account for 1.48% of the total audience
    • Gen X - 9.65%
    • Gen Y - 27.65%
    • Gen Z - 61.23%

    What else are these consumers interested in?

    • Sports - 13% 
    • Business - 11% 
    • Family and parenting - 10% 
    • Politics - 8%

    What is the best time of the day to post about industry-related topics?

    According to Brandwatch data, brands in the financial services space accumulate the most brand mentions around 9 pm in North America. It is tempting to schedule your content to go live around that time to get a piece of the action. However, if you consistently post during the busiest times, even the best content has a high probability of getting lost in the sea of other content available to consumers online. When thinking about sharing content on social media, social media managers need to be strategic and figure out the optimum time for their brand.

    With solutions like Brandwatch’s Social Media Management, your social media team will be fully equipped to analyze the conversation online and discover when the audience you’re looking to engage with is most active on social media.

    Key insights: Overall sentiment and top brands

    It’s important to note, similar to the energy sector, the financial services industry tends to get higher volumes of negative conversation compared to other industries. 

    This chart compares sentiment in conversations within the first half of this year compared to the previous six-month period, and according to Brandwatch data, the sentiment in industry-related conversations has deteriorated since 2021.

    Pro tip for SMMs: 

    One finding that stood out when we analyzed consumer-brand interactions within the financial services sector was that brand replies showed very low numbers across the industry. Oftentimes, consumers @mention industry-related brands on Twitter when they have customer-service-related questions and/or when they need help. And monitoring these conversations and showing that your brand cares, could not only improve the public sentiment towards your brand, but also improve customer retention. 

    Another tactic to lighten up the mood is – you guessed it – celebrity collaborations. Brands in the financial services industry also didn’t shy away from leveraging celebrity partnerships. Take a look at these two examples:

    • Citibank sponsored a Harry Styles concert in NYC.
    • And Deutsche Bank brought trendy K-pop band Exo to the stage in Frankfurt. 
    Food services sector 4 minutes read

    The food service sector audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    We analyzed English-language conversations relating to 38 huge food service brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand who’s driving the social media conversation. 

    Our data showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers make up 0.96% of the total audience
    • Gen X, 8.06%
    • Gen Y, 26.88%
    • Gen Z, 64.10%

    What else are these consumers interested in?

    • Sports - 12% 
    • Business - 12%
    • Music - 8% 
    • Books - 8%

    What’s driving the food service conversation?

    Food delivery apps 

    Food delivery services, and especially DoorDash, generated a higher volume of negative conversation. And while consumers previously expressed their support for delivery workers amid rising issues surrounding their working conditions (we wrote about it extensively in our Best Brands for CX report earlier this year), this time around, a video of a delivery driver taking a photo for the customer just to then take the food and leave with it went viral.

    Consumer concerns around the transparency of transactions placed via food delivery apps have remained in conversations as well since our research from last March. 

    Applebee’s: When brand’s efforts are tone deaf

    Consumers are paying close attention to the brands they are buying and, thus, supporting financially. Given the current cost of living crisis and widespread consumer activism around socio-economic issues, food service brands need to keep their finger on the pulse to avoid staining their brand reputation. 

    Take Applebee’s, for example. 

    The company landed in trouble, and #boycottapplebees started trending on social media after someone leaked an internal email from an executive explaining how the company could capitalize on the rising gas prices and by letting employees work longer hours for lower wages.

    In a time where people are looking for compatible cultural identification and strong stands by a brand’s leaders, a memo like that doesn’t land well in the public eye.

    Especially not since this happened after Applebee’s now-viral ad aired in the middle of the live broadcast of Russia’s attack on Ukraine – to the big disappointment of the company. 

    When a crisis like that goes viral in the social media era, there’s nowhere to hide. Rebounding from a situation like that is often tied to cutting through the negative publicity by accepting responsibility and moving the conversation forward. 

    Brands stand a better chance of bouncing back from disaster if they react quickly with practical, authentic, and human responses that display strong leadership with substance.

    Success social media story: McDonald’s, DoorDash, and 31 burgers go viral

    A light-hearted story about a 2-year-old child accidentally ordering 31 burgers from McDonald’s via DoorDash went viral, after the kid’s mom decided to give away the burgers on her Facebook. 

    The brand is no stranger to engaging with its community, and the family was invited to meet the company mascots, enjoy the food, and take some photos.

    Overall, McDonald’s social media strategy involves speaking the language of their consumers, engaging the community, and being highly entertaining. And their efforts are definitely recognized. 

    #McDonalds also took the top spot in the list of the most popular hashtags.

    Pro tip for SMMs:

    In the last two years, consumers have gone through a lot with the pandemic, growing inflation, and burnout all coming at once. And any type of content that’s perceived as entertaining and “feels good”, will likely generate high volumes of positive engagement. 

    Healthcare sector 1 minute read

    The healthcare sector audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    We analyzed English-language conversations relating to 13 of the world’s biggest healthcare services brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand who’s driving the social media conversation. 

    Our data showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers make up 4.06% of the total audience
    • Gen X - 29.63%
    • Gen Y - 28.22%
    • Gen Z - 38.10%

    What else are these consumers interested in?

    • Family and parenting - 14%
    • Politics - 13%
    • Sports - 10% 
    • Books - 8%

    What’s driving the healthcare conversation?

    The two biggest topics that trended in discussions were product shortages (remember the baby formula shortage in the US earlier this year?) and customer support, with the latter being discussed by both doctors and patients. 

    The healthcare sector is another industry that typically accumulates a higher volume of negative comments than brands in other sectors: only three percent of all sentiment-categorized discussions were positive.

    What can SMM professionals learn from healthcare brands generating positive conversation on social media?

    1. Healthy tips are positively received by consumers

    2. The power of employee endorsements

    3. Local sport team sponsorships

    4. Community building 

    Hotels sector 1 minute read

    The hotels sector audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    We analyzed English-language conversations relating to 41 biggest hotel brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand who’s driving the social media conversation. 

    Brandwatch data showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers make up 2.57% of the total audience
    • Gen X, 20.26%
    • Gen Y, 27.42%
    • Gen Z, 49.76%

    What else are these consumers interested in?

    • Sports - 12%
    • Family and parenting - 11% 
    • Business - 9% 
    • Politics - 9%

    Hotels sector: How to do good on social media?

    1. Food recipes recreated by influencers on social media and/or live

    2. Instagrammable ambience 

    Who doesn’t like a good photo? And while styling property is not a SMM’s responsibility, SMMs can take and share a perfect photo that’ll live on social media pages to incentivize others to do the same. 

    3. Does your brand have a story that sells?

    4. Showcasing company culture 

    5. Offering perks for members only

    Branded hashtags featuring a benefit for the consumer tend to accumulate higher volume of engagement on social media, building more visibility for the brand. 

    No response is a response

    As we’ve mentioned several times throughout this report, not responding to consumer questions and concerns only intensifies consumer frustration with your brand. And consumers with a larger follower base can be hugely influential in getting the word out and activating the public – most likely against you. 

    Pharmaceutical sector 2 minutes read

    Who’s driving the pharma conversation: The audience’s makeup

    We analyzed English-language conversations relating to 18 of the biggest pharma brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand who’s driving the social media conversation. 

    Our data showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers make up 4.48% of the total audience
    • Gen X, 22.13%
    • Gen Y, 31.33%
    • Gen Z, 42.06%

    What else are these consumers interested in?

    • Family and parenting - 14%
    • Politics - 14%
    • Sports - 10% 
    • Business - 9%

    What’s driving the conversation? 

    The pharmaceutical sector is known to generate a higher rate of negative conversation compared to others.

    We compared sentiment in conversations in the first half of 2022 to the previous six-month period. And as you can see on the chart below, overall, consumer sentiment has shifted to more neutral this year compared to the previous period of time. 

    There was also a noticeable change in the volume of conversation, which has dropped by 72% in the first six months of this year compared to the previous six-month period. One reason why consumer sentiment might be evolving is that consumers are simply fatigued by constant health risks and the emergence of new variants, and they are getting used to the idea of living in a world of uncertainty. Therefore, related topics don’t generate as much hype on social media as they did back in 2021. 

    How can pharma brands stand out on social media and generate positive responses?

    While conversation dropped in the first half of 2022 around pharma compared to the previous period, we noticed some positive stories cutting through the noise.

    1. Educate your consumers on health-related topics

    2. Build a positive company culture – something others can and will rave above 

    3. Get on board with the issues that matter to your consumers

    Retail sector 1 minute read

    Who’s driving the retail conversation: The audience’s makeup

    We analyzed English-language conversations relating to 63 biggest retail brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand who’s driving the social media conversation. 

    Our data showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers account for 1.11% of the total audience
    • Gen X, 8.37%
    • Gen Y, 25.92%
    • Gen Z, 64.60%

    What else are these consumers interested in?

    • Sports - 11%
    • Family and parenting - 11% 
    • Books - 9%
    • Music - 7%

    What drove positive conversation, and what can SMMs learn from it?

    1. Positive associations and affiliations brands can capitalize on

    2. A “feel-good story” that’s touching consumer hearts

    3. Create ‘Instagrammable’ moments (and support consumers when they do so, too)

    4. Positive affirmations coming from your favorite brand

    5. When the brand support important causes

    Telecommunications sector 1 minute read

    The telecoms sector audience’s makeup: Who’s driving the conversation?

    We analyzed English-language conversations relating to 30 of the biggest telecommunications brands among baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (millennials), and Generation Z to understand who’s driving the social media conversation. 

    Brandwatch data showed that of all generation-categorized mentions:

    • Baby boomers make up 2.23% of the total audience
    • Gen X, 14.66%
    • Gen Y, 30.25%
    • Gen Z, 52.86%

    What else are these consumers interested in?

    • Sports - 16% 
    • Family and parenting - 11% 
    • Politics - 8% 
    • Music - 8%

    Social media success: The T-Mobile story 

    We sorted all telecom brands by the highest number of joyful mentions, and T-Mobile came out on top. In the last couple of years, the brand’s social media strategy included contests and giveaways, highly responsive social customer service, having a strong, outspoken brand personality, and several evergreen, branded hashtags.

    The brand’s tweets tend to receive a lot of positive engagement, and T-Mobile often receives praise from consumers on social media, citing their loyalty to the brand, with some adding love notes about T-Mobile’s customer support

    The brand’s social media strategy helped secure three out of five spots on the list of the most popular industry-related hashtags. 

    Overall, consumers seemed to enjoy events and concerts sponsored by brands in telecoms, and thanked those companies for bringing them joy. 



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Final thoughts and key takeaways

These are among the most important takeaways for social media professionals:

Have a nuanced understanding of your audience: demographics, behaviors, even local humor.

Use emotion-categorized topics in conversations as a guidance for your social media team, as they can help identify and later match consumer expectations.

Your brand is what consumers perceive it to be, and it’s not always aligned with your idea of what your brand is.

Show off a personality on social media. People like to relate, and if you create a relatable brand on social, it’ll increase your chances of retaining and winning new brand fans.

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