Study: Millennials hold brands more accountable on social media
- Social media cuts both ways for marketers: 81% of U.S. consumers report that the channel has increased brand accountability and only 8% said they would stay silent if they saw inappropriate behavior from a brand, according to Sprout Social findings made available to Marketing Dive.
- The Q3 Sprout Social Index found millennials, in particular, are willing to call out brands on social media, with 56% of the demographic group having complained about or called out brands. Social is the age bracket's go-to channel, with 59% stating they would use it to address an issue with a brand compared to 51% saying they would have an in-person discussion. Millennials are almost 40% more likely to call out a brand on social media than other generations.
- Consumers see social media as creating more accountability for brands in a number of ways, including by uncovering unfair treatment (80%), giving consumers power (75%), encouraging transparency (70%), amplifying issues (65%) and helping employees share experiences (55%).
While social media is a powerful tool for marketing and customer service, strongly influencing shopping habits, the Sprout Social findings underscore how much of a double-edged sword the channel can be. The growing presence of call-out culture reinforces why brands should continually monitor their mentions for reputation management as well as take proactive action on customer service issues before snowball out of control.
Sprout Social uncovered reasons why people might call out a brand on social media, giving marketers a clearer picture of issues to look out for. Those reasons include dishonesty (60%), bad customer service (59%), in-person rudeness (57%), bad product experience (45%), overcharging (35%), unresponsiveness (32%), online rudeness (31%) and being too political (14%).
The last data point is especially interesting in light of recent controversies. Uber, for example, saw its app deleted by the thousands after a #DeleteUber hashtag went viral earlier this year. The consumer backlash came as a response to the ride-hailing service's perceived strike-breaking as it continued operations while cabs refused to pick up passengers from New York's JFK airport in protest of President Donald Trump's immigration ban.
Any number of #Delete X or Y companies have surfaced since, targeting brands aligned on both sides of the political spectrum. The lesson for marketers is to always remember social media offers a two-way street.