For Brands, Sometimes Social Lurking Is Best: New NetBase Survey Reveals Consumers Don't Want Brands Listening to Social Media Conversations Unless Spoken To

NetBase, a social intelligence company, recently released a new survey revealing the conflicting consumer awareness and attitudes about social media listening. The survey of 1,062 U.S. adult consumers, ages 18-55+, conducted by the J.D. Power Panel, found that while 51 percent of consumers want to talk about companies without being listened to, 58 percent want companies to respond to their complaints shared on social media. The findings are included in an e-book titled, "Social Listening vs. Digital Privacy, a Consumer Study: Your Practical Guide for How to Engage Consumers Based on Their Attitude Toward Privacy."

According to Altimeter Group, 42 percent of companies have social media listening as a top three priority in 2013, but digital marketers must also consider the consumer perception toward this business strategy. Specifically, the NetBase survey found:

  • 32 percent of consumers of all ages and 38 percent of Millennials (18-24-year-olds) have no idea companies are listening to what they say in social media.
  • 43 percent of consumers think listening online intrudes on privacy, even though this is "social" media. Boomers put up the biggest fight (36 percent said they don't want brands listening to what they say about brands online), while only 17 percent of Millennials said the same).
  • At least 20 percent of each age group (and 25 percent of 18-24-year-olds) don't yet know how they feel about brands listening.
  • Nevertheless, 48 percent say companies should listen to improve products and nearly 58 percent want companies to respond to complaints.

"It's really important that marketers consider these findings when developing social media strategies," said Lisa Joy Rosner, CMO of NetBase, in a news release. "The companies that take the time to understand what customers are saying, and engage in a way that considers context and builds relationships, are the ones that will benefit from social listening and engagement."

To learn more about the survey findings, download the e-book here or view the corresponding infographic and slides.

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