Younger adults are more likely to call out brands on social media than other generations, a new study has found.
According to Sprout Social, the social media revolution means brands can be held accountable for consumers both for what they do and what they fail to do.
However, research by the body suggests that not all age groups are actively taking advantage of this newfound influence.
Indeed, millennials were found to be 43 per cent more likely to call out a brand on the likes of Twitter and Facebook than other generations.
Consumers were especially likely to criticise a brand on social media if it was dishonest, with 60 per cent saying they would react badly to an apparent lie.
This could potentially have a domino effect, with 65 per cent of consumers saying they would think twice about transacting with a company after they have seen someone else criticising it online.
These people also stated that they would do their own research before buying from a brand after seeing it called out on social media.
Interestingly, the survey revealed that reacting badly to a complaint can be more costly than ignoring it altogether.
Indeed, almost half of those polled said they would never purchase from a company again if it responded poorly to a complaint.
By contrast, just 35 per cent said they would boycott the brand in future if they didn’t get a response at all.
However, a strong response can be enough to win aggrieved people over, as 45 per cent of consumers said they would go back to social media to praise a positive interaction if a brand responded well to a call-out.
Scott Brandt, Chief Marketing Officer at Sprout Social, commented: “Call-out culture has brought to the forefront the shifting power dynamic between brands and consumers. When people can share bad experiences within seconds on social, they have increasing influence to shape the media cycle and stories about brands’ behaviours.”
Mr Brandt added that while an inadequate response can have a negative long-term impact for a brand, a strong response “empowers brands to take control of the story in front of a uniquely attuned audience”.
This, he said, means brands will come out on top if they are able to take responsibility, respond quickly and authentically, and say sorry when necessary.