New Data: What Brands are Doing to Annoy 60 Percent of People on Social Media

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Sprout Social finds most consumers are put off by brand social behavior

Whether it is incessant promotions or awkward jokes, many brands strike out on social media and fail to find the right tone. This not only annoys and alienates their audience, it negatively impacts both a brand’s social presence and their bottom line. New data from Sprout Social, a social media management platform for businesses, uncovers what leads people to unfollow a brand and how those actions impact sales.

While 85 percent of social media users currently follow brands on social many companies miss the opportunity to engage with them and instead use the medium as a promotional tool. Excessive promotions from brands lead nearly half of people to click the unfollow button. If someone takes that action, it means that they are no longer seeing a brand’s social messages which–when you take into account that 75 percent of people have purchased something because they saw it on social media–can hurt their bottom line.

Additional insights from the report include:

  • People are buying based on which brands they follow and what social post they see.

                - 57 percent of people are more likely to buy from a brand they follow. Seeing as 75 percent of people have purchased something because they saw it on social media–this is important.

  • There is a fine line between brands being informational and annoying.

                - While nearly 60 percent of people initially follow a brand because they’re interested in promotions, 46 percent of people will unfollow a brand if they post too many.

  • Brands that try to be anyone but themselves tend to turn off their followers.

                - Nearly 40 percent of people find a brand using slang to be irritating and another 32 percent are annoyed when a brand tries to be funny–when they are clearly not.

  • Message repetition can improve community receptivity on social.

                - 60 percent of people need to see a something 2-4 times on social media before they purchase and nearly 20% need to see it 5-8 times.

“Social media has moved beyond the solely promotional platform it once was,” said Scott Brandt, CMO of Sprout Social. “This report makes it is clear that the stakes are higher and any brand that hasn’t adapted to meet expectations isn’t just going to lose their audience, they’re risking a decline in their marketplace perception and sales.”

For more information and the full data report visit

About the Data
The Sprout Social Index is a report compiled and released by Sprout Social. All referenced data is based on 257,000 public social profiles (103,000 Facebook; 114,000 Twitter; 40,000 Instagram) of continually active accounts between Q2 2015 and Q2 2016. More than 2.9 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 consumer survey was conducted by Survata, an independent research firm in San Francisco. Survata interviewed 1,022 online respondents between July 05, 2016 and July 11, 2016. For further information, visit

About Sprout Social
Sprout Social offers social media engagement, advocacy and analytics 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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Jennifer Mulligan

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