Snark on social media? Most prefer candor from brands

Sprout Social asked consumers which traits they wanted from organization’s online voices. Honesty topped the options. Humor (without the sarcasm, thank you) ranked No. 4.

We’ve seen several brands capture headlines by bringing the snark to their social channels.

There’s Wendy’s, which has delighted millennials on Twitter with its brand of sassy exchanges, and T-Mobile, which created a popular drinking game to troll competitors’ earnings calls.

Although it might delight audiences who love to watch an official brand’s social media team scorch an unsuspecting user, does that really work for the bulk of consumers?

New research from Sprout Social casts some doubt. Its recent survey of more than 1,000 consumers found that 67 percent do not want brands to exhibit snarkiness on their social media channels.

What do consumers want from the brands they follow? Take a look:

Honesty, friendliness and helpfulness seem to be valued most. One might argue that Wendy’s embodies those traits as well. Look at this recent response to a customer:

If you look through the company’s feed of replies, you’ll see people have started essentially baiting the brand into berating them, presumably because they find it amusing. As it happens, 72 percent of respondents in the Sprout Social survey want their brands to be funny.

Seventy percent of respondents said companies should steer clear of political commentary.

You can check out the full report here.

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