Commenting in social media means you want a response, right? Wrong!

If you talk to people about social media engagement, you’ll hear a common thread – people want to be responded to when they make a comment about a brand or company in social media. People like it, they expect it, it should happen. This always makes me wonder about people who make comments online but don’t necessarily want to chat with the company. Do such people exist?

We conducted an online survey (based on the e-Rewards survey panel) to determine how people feel about companies responding to them about a comment they made in the social media space. From a census representative sample of 1000 Americans and 1000 Canadians, we identified 152 people who said a company had responded to them when they made a comment online.

Given a multiple choice question listing a number of positive, negative, and neutral feelings, we asked survey responders to select as many items as appropriate to describe how they felt (which means these numbers will add up to more than 100%).

About 41% of people said that they liked being responded to and about 40% of people said they appreciated being responded to. That is a nice, healthy, positive number. However, about 10% of people were annoyed and about 10% felt that they were being stalked. Would you be comfortable annoying 1 out of every 10 people you talked to?

Now, if about 41% of people liked or appreciated it when the company responded to them, that left a lot of people who did NOT necessarily like or appreciate the response. Perhaps they didn’t care one way or the other, or they actually disliked it. Either way, they did not feel the need to indicate that they liked the response. What are the demographics of the group of people who didn’t like the interaction?

So now let’s think again about the generally agreed upon idea that people want to be responded to when they write something about a brand online. Is that really true? I don’t think so.

Related links
Are Only Crazy People Commenting About Brands in Social Media?
There is no question but the research validity question
Cell + Survey + SMR: A Social Media Mashup