BY Fast Company 2 MINUTE READ

As brands try to jump through the many hoops of activism during the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, many consumers have decided to boycott companies that aren’t living up to their expectations. 

But according to a recent survey by analytics firm Sprout Social, brands that make missteps have a lot more at stake than making a generic PR statement, particularly if consumers decide to unfollow them on social media. The firm found that 89% of consumers will buy from a brand that they follow on social media while 75% will increase spending with that brand—a number that has continued to increase each year. 

Sprout Social also found that 49% of users will unfollow a brand if the customer service is poor, which is a factor well outside of a social media manager’s control. Sprout suggests marketers take these numbers into account when creating social posts. 

Other reasons why consumers say they unfollow brands on social media include poor quality of product (49%), irrelevant content (45%), too many ads (45%), privacy concerns (39%), negative press (29%), and corporate scandal (26%).

“Growing your social following supports your business’ revenue goals, but to attract new followers, marketers need to know what types of content will engage (and repel) their customers,” Sprout Social says.

Although the survey was conducted before the recent protests in the US, it shows marketers and social media managers what consumers want in terms of content. For example, how quickly a brand responds to a user’s comment is very important. According to the survey, 40% of responders expect an answer from brands in one hour, while 79% of responders expect it in 24 hours.

Staying ahead of trends, Sprout says, is also a great way to boost social performance. Forty percent of users say they want to see more live videos and brands are responding accordingly, while 56% of marketers say they are planning on launching more live video content this year. 

Brands are still only scratching the surface of how to utilise social media to their benefit. Social media isn’t going away anytime soon, so brands should expect it will continue to play an important role in business growth.