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3 New Statistics About How Social Media Affects Purchasing Decisions

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Jay: Hey, guys, this is Jay Baer. Welcome to another edition of Jay Today. Two interesting sidenotes for today’s episode.
First, I’m in Phoenix today, visiting my mom. She quilted this, which is why I’m in front of this somewhat unusual backdrop, which also does not make for a very fantastic logo for Jay Today or my friends at Emma who sponsor the show. Get more from your email marketing, go to They will hook you up.
The other thing that’s interesting, perhaps, is that I’m wearing my clear glasses today. I switched to my darker glasses on the last episode, but on just the second time I had my brand new boat out on the lake, I managed to drop my glasses in the lake, so it’s back to clear glasses until further notice for me.
Interesting new research this morning, published from my friends at Sprout Social, all about whether or not consumers like it when brands are snarky in social media. Now, there’s a number of brands that are snarky from time to time, but perhaps the most noteworthy snarky brand is our friends at Wendy’s, home of the square, juicy hamburger. They’re particularly snarky on Twitter. They’ve kind of made a big hullabaloo about it, gotten lots of industry coverage about it. I’ve written blog posts about it, as have a number of other people.
So Sprout Social decided to put it to the test. Do consumers actually like that kind of thing or not? I very much suggest that you download the whole study. It’s free, very interesting, as I said, just came out this morning, but I wanna point out three different questions that they asked specifically in the research.
First, the behaviors that consumers want from brands on social. 86 percent of us want our brands to be honest, and that doesn’t seem too much to ask. 83 percent want brands to be friendly. 78 percent want brands to be helpful, and then it kinda starts to slide. 72 percent want brands to be funny. 43 percent want brands to be trendy. Only 39 percent want brands to be politically correct. And just 33 percent want brands to be snarky. So it’s interesting to me because a lot of people want brands to be funny, but not funny in a snarky way. I guess funny in a different way.
A second question that they asked is what brand actions actually prompt consumers to make a purchase. 48 percent said if brands are responsive, that helps them make a purchase. That sounds great; it’s very much a “hug your haters” approach. 42 percent say providing educational content; that’s a very Youtility approach. And you can see, trash-talking competing brands, only ten percent of the time does that cause people to make a purchase. That’s probably not surprising. Somewhat interesting also, on that note, is that only 27 percent of consumers say that providing behind-the-scenes content causes consumers to purchase. Perhaps that’s not surprising to you, but that seemed a little bit low to me.
And then the third chart I wanna bring your attention to is this one, Consumer Sentiment on Brand Behaviors on Social. Sprout asked people if they thought each of these things were cool or annoying. 83 percent say that when brands use video clips, it’s cool. I’d say I guess it depends on the video. 83 percent say it’s cool when brands respond to questions. I like the sound of that. Then it starts to drop: 68 percent of us say it’s cool when brands joined conversations. 66, about two-thirds, say that it’s cool when brands talk about timely events. Using GIFs, down to 58 percent, and then it really drops off. Making fun of your competitors is only cool one-third of the time. Using slang, about the same; talking politics, even less, and making fun of your customers, just 12 percent of the time.
Now, let’s make sure we put this research in the proper context. This is questions being asked in a vacuum. They’re not saying, “Here’s something that Wendy’s said. Do you like this particular thing?” They’re asking, “Do you think it’s good when brands make fun of customers?” in a vacuum. It may work for Wendy’s; we’re not entirely certain. It certainly works from a public relations standpoint because many people have been talking about it, and here I am talking about it again. So it may work for Wendy’s. It may even work for your brand, but from a overall perspective, it doesn’t seem to work, at least according to this research from Sprout, which I found very interesting.
Again, I encourage you to grab a copy of the whole report. You’ll probably find it interesting. That’s it for me. In front of this quilt, in these clear glasses, I am Jay Baer, this is Jay Today, sponsored by Emma, and I will catch you next week. Thanks.

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