Data: Consumers Value Customer Service over Attitude from Brands on Social

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The Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index finds that snarky brands may not be as cool as they think

With all the praise and media attention given to daring social brands, it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon.

Whether they’re daring customers or trolling competitors, many brands are showcasing bolder personalities on social and reaping the rewards of increased engagement and media attention. But aside from increased impressions, what impact does that sass have on their overall brand perception and, most importantly, customer relationships?

The latest data from Sprout Social, a social media management platform for businesses, reveals that a snarky brand personality only appeals to a third of consumers, while being friendly and helpful will charm about 80 percent of them. Furthermore, 88 percent of consumers are annoyed when brands make fun of followers, and 67 percent feel the same way about brands making fun of competitors.

The Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index delves into what other personality traits and behaviors consumers are actually looking for from brands – and what will turn them away completely. Other insights from the report include:

  • Keep politics to a minimum: Seven in 10 consumers find it annoying when brands take part in political conversations on social.
  • Actions speak louder than words: Nearly half (48 percent) of consumers are more inclined to purchase from brands that interact with consumers on social.
  • Consumers love varied formats for social content: 83 percent think videos are cool and 60 percent want to see GIFs.
  • Humor doesn’t correlate to sales: While it may grab you a few laughs, only 36 percent of consumers said humor on social will make them more likely to buy from a brand.
  • If your audience is younger, have more leeway on Instagram: millennials want to see brand personality 75 percent more on Instagram, as compared to other age groups.
  • Despite wanting helpfulness, customers are left in the dark: It still takes brands an average of 11 hours to respond to inbound messages – a full hour more than they had to wait a year ago.

“With all the praise and media attention given to daring social brands, it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon,” said Scott Brandt, CMO of Sprout Social. “However, developing a brand personality needs to be a thoughtful and tailored process that starts with truly understanding who your audience is and what they’re looking for. When a majority of your consumers would rather see you be helpful than funny, craft your content accordingly. ”

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 289,000 public social profiles (139,000 Facebook; 115,000 Twitter; 35,000 Instagram) of continually active accounts between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017. More than 3.9 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.

The consumer survey was conducted by Survata, an independent research firm in San Francisco. Survata interviewed 1003 online respondents between April 14, 2017 and April 17, 2017. Respondents were reached across the Survata publisher network, where they take a survey to unlock premium content, like articles and ebooks. Respondents received no cash compensation for their participation. More information on Survata's methodology can be found at

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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