Survey Says: Customers weigh in on businesses’ behavior on social

It’s no secret that social media can be extremely beneficial for businesses of all sizes and scales.  However, just because you’re active on social media, doesn’t mean you’re using it the right way. We’ve shared our thoughts on best practices for social media in the past, but today we are sharing with you a new report by Sprout Social that was recently released, revealing what consumers have to say about business’s behavior on social media.

What Consumers Don’t Want to See: While the “coolness factor” has often been associated with success on social media, this recent report shows that being cool may not be what consumers are looking for. We can all think back to our high school days when the cool kids weren’t always so nice. And this has transferred over to social, where some brands have taken to mocking their consumers or their competitors on this public forum. What worked for Wendy’s in terms of social popularity, does not transfer to every business. In fact, according to Sprout Social, “While 75% of consumers believe there’s value in brands exhibiting humor on social, only 36% are willing to purchase from brands they believe are funny.” The following graph shows that of all brand behaviors, making fun of customers or competitors on social is not cool.

Authenticity: Rather, authenticity was voted as the most likeable trait of a business on social. Like what we’ve seen from celebrities for years, consumers respond well to figures and businesses that are transparent and real with their fans- your followers want to see more of who you are, your brand personality- in your social media content. Sprout Social defines brand personality as “what connects your product to its consumers. It reflects what your brand stands for and should be the bloodline that runs through all of your marketing and creative initiatives.”

Responsiveness: Not only are consumers interested in what kind of content you put out there, they also are increasingly interested in how you engage with them. The #1 behavior on social media that influences a consumer’s decision to make a purchase is responsiveness to comments. While depending on the size of your community, you might not be able to respond to every followers comment, it is important to make this a priority when you are managing your social accounts.  

What’s at Risk: Consumers and social media users alike are pretty fickle when it comes to their brand loyalty. While you might enjoy experimenting with humor or other edgy pieces of content, generally most users apply a “first strike, unfollow” rule when it comes to their relationships with brands on social. The more and more businesses that create and promote their social media pages, the less time a consumer will spend deciding whether to follow or unfollow a brand- they’ll just do it.

What Should You Do: Our takeaway from this data, stay true to your business’s values, and focus on what your business can control: great content, engagement, and customer care. Above all else, your community wants to be appreciated and there are millions of opportunities on social to show them you care!


Sarah Gallagher

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