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Controversial diet supplement brand Protein World have scored more positively than John Lewis in a blind social media study.

by Andreas Voniatis

Social media blind test

We surveyed 1,000 UK adults, who analysed and rated corporate social media content from brands including Airbnb, Protein World, Lloyds Bank and John Lewis, and gave their honest responses.

Participants rated the content based on a variety of criteria, including trustworthiness, approachability and friendliness.

The study revealed Facebook to be the most trustworthy social media platform for brands, with 55% of men and 65% of women responding positively to posts on the site. Instagram was also rated highly as the most approachable, with an average of 56% of men and 65% of women scoring the brands using it positively.

This Facebook post from Lloyd’s Bank, despite acknowledging a complaint, scored positively for 55% of men and 66% of women:

“Hi Sara. Sorry to read your comment. I’ll certainly ensure your comments on this are recorded for feedback. Apologies for any inconvenience caused”, Lloyds Bank, Facebook.

Online protein and diet supplement retailer Protein World were received well when their Instagram post was made anonymous. 32% of women and 23% of men thought the content “approachable”, despite the controversial brand attracting a significant amount of negative press for their ‘Are You Beach Body Ready?’ campaign in 2015.

“We are here to help everyone achieve their weight loss goals! Start your journey by setting your target and let us help you get there. How much have you lost so far and how much have you got to go? Tell us in the comments below!” – @proteinworld, Instagram.

Twitter was found to be both the least trustworthy and the least approachable social media platform. The lowest scoring tweet in the study, posted by retailer John Lewis, was considered trustworthy by only 4% of the people surveyed.

John Lewis won Verdict Retail’s Best Retailer Award in both 2013 and 2014, scoring highly with British shoppers for value and customer service. Despite this, their social media post about #backtowork day scored poorly when shown to people with their branding removed. Only 4% believed it to be ‘trustworthy’ and 8% found the content ‘approachable’.

“Some shoe shopping is sure to cheer us up on #backtowork day” – @johnlewisretail, Twitter.

Overall, 61% of women and 50% of men responded to branded social media messaging positively. Various age groups also responded in different ways. On average, 13% of those aged 18-24 found the corporate social media posts they were shown to be trustworthy, whereas only 8% of those over 55 were in agreement. This is possibly due to older generations being less familiar with social media on the whole, and using it much less frequently. Social media and customer service now go hand-in-hand for major brands, especially if they conduct their business purely online, but some age groups are clearly more responsive to it than others.

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