Study by Sprout Social Reveals People Are More Likely to Share a Milestone On Social Media Than In Person

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The Q4 2017 Sprout Social Index finds nearly 80 percent of people say they’ve used social to share a life milestone with their network

The rise of social media has forged a seismic shift in the way people share life milestones with friends and family. But the shift is even greater than some may think, as sharing major life moments via social is now the norm for 80 percent of consumers compared to in person (75 percent), text (71 percent), or phone (71 percent). This type of social sharing presents an opportunity for brands to capitalize on user generated content as a form of milestone marketing to engage with their communities in a more personal way.

Sprout Social, a leading provider of social media management, analytics and advocacy solutions for business, explores these “moments and milestones” in its Q4 2017 Sprout Social Index, released today. Moments & Milestones: UGC, Brands & Emotional Touchpoints on Social surveyed more than 1,200 people to unveil what drives consumers to share their biggest milestones on social, what inspires them to mention a brand and how marketers can leverage these opportunities for emotional connection to drive engagement and loyalty.

The Q4 2017 Sprout Social Index found that one in three people would mention a brand in a personal accomplishment on social, revealing a major opportunity for brands to gain visibility and engage with consumers during important life moments. Other key findings reveal:

  • The holiday card isn’t just for snail mail: 66 percent of people say they’d post about holiday celebrations, followed by travel or vacation milestones (60 percent), family milestones (59 percent), and relationship milestones (58 percent). But posting about milestones is not limited to joyful moments. Forty-seven percent of people have shared a difficult milestone like the death of a loved one on social.
  • Consumers want to include brands -- for the right moments: 47 percent say they’d include a brand in posts about holiday celebrations, 43 percent in a travel/vacation milestone and 35 percent when sharing a personal accomplishment. However, nearly one in three (29 percent) people say they’d incorporate a brand in even more intimate moments like engagements or weddings, family milestones like having a baby (30 percent) and posts about buying a home or relocating (30 percent).
  • Millennials want more recognition: The majority of people (54 percent) want their network to join them in celebrating on social, but millennials are much more likely to want to tell their story and be acknowledged (41 percent) than members of older generations (27 percent).
  • Most people want to share what they love about brands: Half of consumers (50 percent) are motivated to include a brand in their post to recommend that brand to others. Others would include a brand in a milestone post because they want friends and family to see them using a specific brand (30 percent) and because the brands’ values match their personal beliefs (29 percent).
  • Social has purchasing power: 48 percent of respondents and 58 percent of millennials have purchased a product or service, or chosen a vendor, for a life milestone after seeing it on social media.

“Now more than ever, people are sharing major life milestones and special moments in their lives on social,” said Andrew Caravella, VP of Strategy and Brand Engagement at Sprout Social. “The burgeoning opportunity is for brands to connect with people by encouraging them to celebrate, commemorate and share those major moments with the people, products and services that helped along the way. When used authentically and effectively, brands can weave together people’s natural inclination to share with inspiration for user-generated content, cultivating brand loyalty and advocacy in the process.”

For more information and the full data report, click here.

About the Data

The Sprout Social Index is a report compiled and released by Sprout Social. All referenced data is based on 357,000 public social profiles (171,000 Facebook; 134,000 Twitter; 52,000 Instagram) of continually active accounts between Q3 2016 and Q3 2017. More than 5.7 billion messages sent and received during that time were analyzed for the purposes of this report.

Some data may have shifted from the last Sprout Social Index report due to a shift in the social profiles analyzed; however, all overarching trends remain consistent. Industry classifications were based on LinkedIn industry categories. In some cases, closely related industries were merged into a single overarching industry. All messages analyzed that were considered casual mentions or not in need of a response were excluded from engagement, response rate and response time calculations with the intention of eliminating noise. Analysis of which messages required attention was done using Sprout’s proprietary technologies. Response time and response rate calculations were done using Sprout’s Engagement Reporting technology found in the Sprout Social product.

This survey was conducted by Survata, an independent research firm in San Francisco. Survata interviewed 1220 online respondents between September 20, 2017 and September 21, 2017. For further information, visit

About Sprout Social
Sprout Social offers social media management, analytics and advocacy solutions for leading agencies and brands, including Hyatt, GrubHub, Microsoft, Uber and Zendesk. Available via web browser, iOS and Android apps, Sprout’s engagement platform enables brands to more effectively communicate on social channels, collaborate across teams and provide an exceptional customer experience. Bambu by Sprout Social, a platform for advocacy, empowers employees to share curated content across their social networks to further amplify a brand’s reach and engagement. Headquartered in Chicago, Sprout is a Twitter Official Partner, Facebook Marketing Partner, Instagram Partner Program Member, LinkedIn Company Page Partner and Google+ Pages API Partner. Learn more at and

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Alicia Johnston
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