BY COLLEEN PATTERSON

The answer to the question of whether or not consumers like to see brands on social media is highly contextual. Consider your own behavior —because you’re a consumer. Let’s quickly cover ads.

For me, how I respond to formal, paid post depends on my mood. I know (by my own arbitrary gauge) that I find Facebook ads interesting about 50% of the time and irrelevant otherwise. If I’m winding down after a long day and feeling receptive, sure, I’ll window shop; but if I’m working I don’t want to see any brands on social media. The ads distract me. My receptivity to ads is always a crap shoot. Regular posts are another ball game.

If the first component of my relationship with brands on social media is how I respond to their paid posts (and the answer to that is whimsically), the second component is my expectation of how a brand will consistently behave everywhere else.

Again, think of yourself. As consumers we take time to curate our social feeds and personalize our profiles. We’re very deliberate. We follow only friends and companies and public figures that reflect our personal interests and in turn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like use the information we give to show us posts and ads which reflect those interests and improve our experience.

We only bristle when it feels as those experiences are being disrupted by a post we don’t like; if the brands on social media don’t meet our expectations; if a brand creates something that doesn’t fit into the larger scheme our preferences.

I’ll happily follow brands on social media and so will you. But there are a few universal behaviors which tend to rub us the wrong way and vice versa. Diving in:

HOW MUCH DO WE LIKE BRANDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

Sprout Social recently released a study, let’s nickname “The Cost of Cool” which breaks down how consumers respond to varying brand behaviors. It’s an interesting read which took the input of 1,000 consumers and compiled the traits they want brands to demonstrate and those they’d prefer brands to avoid. Below are my favorite takeaways!

TOO MUCH PERSONALITY CAN BE A TURN OFF

But social media is all the place for personality, right? In the case of most industries, social media is actually a place for immediate customer service. For instance, 40% of consumers don’t want to see personality from government agencies on their social feeds. They want updates and answers. Similarly, banking and Utilities industries also don’t need to worry about their brands on social media because most of their followers aren’t interested.

And while 3 in 4 consumers appreciate humor from brands on social meda, only one-third of them actually want brands to indulge in full-on snark. It’s probably best to reserve your sense of humor for one-on-one interactions which customers or depending on the industry to avoid it.

POLITICS IS OUR BIGGEST PET PEEVE

Sprout Social found that brands do that making fun of customers (88%), talking politics (71%), and using slang (69%) are among the most unlikeable behaviors of brands. In other words, the worst post of all time would consist of using political slang to mock a customer. Let’s please not to do that, ever.

FACEBOOK IS THE BEST PLACE TO LET LOOSE YOUR PERSONALITY

The study perhaps surprisingly found that 79% of Millennials and 84% of all other generations reported Facebook is where they’d expect the most personality. It makes sense. Sprout puts it best:

“Brands on social media must be concise and link to other types of content, while on Facebook, the audience can consume much of the content directly on the platform. There’s more space to write interesting or funny descriptions on Facebook, allowing for the brand’s personality to be communicated better.”

Again, back to industries, we expect the most entertaining content to come from media companies. Here that? If you’re in the music or storytelling businesses, it’s time to step up your game on Facebook.

Consumers are notoriously opinionated about what they want from brands on each social platform. As long as you meet those expectations, you’re in the right place. There’s no secret to meeting expectations by the way. This is social media. Ask your audience what they want from you. Ask what type of content they like to see. Strike up a conversation. It’s your job, after all to engage them on social, or why have a presence at all?


Find the full report, Consumers Aren’t Looking to Buy From Brands That Are “Cool” on Social here.

For more inspiration and guidance on brand awareness campaigns, check out these posts:

Colleen Patterson is the content marketing manager for Muses, the only digital growth app focused on building long­-term relationships. She’d love you to get involved.