Turns out, honesty really is the best policy – and Sprout Social just released the data to prove it. A new report from the Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index takes a closer look at brand personality. This is what we frequently refer to on the BuzzPlant Blog as brand “voice.” Last fall, we spent a great deal of time thinking about the question, “how are you supposed to sound personal… human even… as a brand?”

Why We Make Voice Documents

Having a brand voice or “personality” that’s real and authentic is tremendously important. Before we get down to strategy, we spend days – sometimes even weeks – working on voice documents with new BuzzPlant clients. Establishing the brand personality (which may very well already exist) and putting it down on paper for everyone on the team to reference is a tremendously important part of the marketing process, informing everything from launch strategy to how to handle customer questions.

As the folks at Sprout put it, “Brand personality is what connects your product to its consumers. It reflects what your brand stands for and should be the bloodline that runs through all of your marketing and creative initiatives.”

Consumers Value Honesty

So, what do consumers want? A whopping 86% said they want honesty to be a behavior they see from brands on social. Close behind were “friendly,” “helpful,” and “funny.” You know what didn’t matter too much? Being “trendy,” “politically correct,” or “snarky.”

The fact is, Taco Bell can be snarky on Twitter, and it’s funny. But for the majority of brands, trying to be snarky or trendy is going to fall flat. Instead, your audience would much rather see that you’re honest and friendly. (Practice your snarky tweets on your own personal account!)

Facebook Is STILL King

Clients often ask us, “What social platform should I be on?” The first answer is always, “The one(s) your audience is on.” In the majority of cases, that includes Facebook. (Actually Facebook – sometimes Instagram – is usually the #1 place where the client’s audience can be found.)

Sprout’s new report further confirms that Facebook is still king. 83% of consumers prefer brand personality on Facebook. YouTube came in second, but only garnered a 48% rating. Also, it’s worth pointing out that it wasn’t just Gen X and the Baby Boomers who preferred Facebook. Facebook still scored highest among Millennials!

Cool or Annoying?

Sprout asked consumers if they found certain brand behaviors on social cool or annoying. The results were interesting…

  • Talking politics is certainly not appreciated. 71% of people thought this was annoying.
  • Responding to questions is an absolute must, however, as 83% of consumers thought this behavior was cool. (By the way, it’s been known to result in 4x engagement levels.)

What About You?

What do you like to see brands do on social? Or, maybe a more interesting question – what behavior really irritates you?