Social media should now be an essential part of any business’ marketing strategy, but many companies that try to seem cool or edgy on these channels may actually end up alienating their customers.

That’s according to a study by Sprout Social, which asked consumers how they felt about a variety of common social media practices, specifically whether they thought they were ‘cool’ or ‘annoying.’

It found that while some activities are likely to go down well with the majority of people, others are more polarising – and some should be definite no-nos, as they’re likely to turn off far more people than they please.

The most popular social activities are sharing video clips with followers and responding directly to questions. Both of these were described as cool by 83 per cent of respondents, and annoying by just 17 per cent.

Joining in conversations on social platforms and talking about timely events were also likely to be well-received, with 68 per cent and 66 per cent of people respectively viewing these as cool.

At the other end of the scale, it seems consumers are likely to be unimpressed if they see a brand making fun of their customers. Just 12 per cent saw this in a positive light, with 88 per cent describing it as annoying.

Talking about politics was also a turn-off for 71 per cent of respondents, while 69 per cent hate it when brands use slang on their social channels.

The research highlights the importance of knowing your audience – something that’s true no matter what marketing activities a brand engages in.

For example, the use of GIFs was one of the most divisive social media tactics, as while 58 per cent felt this was a cool thing to do, 42 per cent found them annoying, so marketers need to think carefully about what category their customers are likely to fall into when considering this.

Some Brands Get Extra Clever On Social (And Some Consumers Aren’t Feeling the Vibe)¬†eMarketer