Report: social media not used for complaints

SAN FRANCISCO: Brands may be unjustifiably fixated on the potential negative PR consequences of social media, according to a recent study.

SAN FRANCISCO:  Brands may be unjustifiably fixated on the potential negative PR consequences of social media, according to a recent study.

Only 6% of people surveyed follow a brand on social media to complain, according to a brand interaction study by the digital consultancy Beyond, a Next Fifteen Communications Group agency.

Forty-two percent, however, follow a brand to find offers and discounts, while 33% simply because they love the product.

“The amount of resources brands are putting into fighting negativity is disproportionate of reality,” said David Hargreaves, CEO of Beyond.

The study surveyed 3,765 consumers evenly in the US and United Kingdom, and was conducted by pollsters Zogby International in the US and Redshift Research in the UK. The study also analyzed 14,218 posts on the official pages of the most valuable 100 international brands.

When people do complain, 80% use e-mail, and only 3% do so on Twitter. Of the posts analyzed, 5% were negative, while 59% were positive.

The study concluded people tend to become fans of pages that contain numerous applications. Games, images and text are more likely to attract followers than video.  Also, posing questions to fans tends to get them interacting with the brands, and sharing content with friends.

Hargreaves said this suggests brands should spend fewer resources on direct communications with their social media followers, and pay more attention to creating content for followers to interact with.  “It's a better use of money,” he said.

“One of the shifts in marketing departments is you can no longer be overbearing. Create interactive content, and the fans will do the rest,” said Hargreaves.

Hargreaves said Beyond will use the findings of the study to make recommendations on how brands should build their social media community, and design a mechanism to incentivize people following, and then ultimately work on behalf of the brand.

Of the posts analyzed, Heinz had the most positive, at 90%. Dell topped the list with the most negative, at 52%.

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