Recent research from Sprout Social has shown that brands who don’t respond to customers’ social media queries risk losing 1 in 3 of them to a competitor. On such a public platform, people aren’t afraid to name and shame those same brands, so be wary – it doesn’t take much to sway others away from you.

customers on social media

It blows my mind that some companies still aren’t talking to their customers on social media. In the same findings, Sprout Social claims that just 11% of brands are answering social queries. That suggests a staggering 89% of brands are AWOL.

Of over 1000 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users who were surveyed on their expectations from reaching out to brands on social, four hours is the maximum time most people will wait on social media. Alarmingly, the average brand response time is 10 hours. That’s quite a difference.

The majority of us walk around with a smartphone in our hands – we have an ‘always on’ attitude. But what happens when brands don’t match that? We are disappointed. In such a competitive world, why aren’t they responding to us within minutes? Unfortunately it’s not always possible to respond to a customer within minutes; but 10 hours? More than a working day? That’s just not acceptable.

Another shocking statistic to come from the study is that, on average, brands are sending 23 promotional messages for each reply they sent to their audience. This goes to the heart of the problem: too many businesses still see social media as a sales channel.

Social media is a two-way thing – an excellent opportunity to converse with your customers. Forget fancy tools that analyse your data and tell you what your customer ‘hypothetically’ wants – if you wanted you could just ask them. You now have direct access to the biggest customer feedback tool that’s ever existed.

At OST we sometimes have clients that are afraid of building their presence on social media in case they receive negative attention. What we try to explain is that people will always be talking about your brand. Having active profiles just means that you can take part in (or at least monitor) these conversations and try to turn negative situations around – and even surprise and delight fans by showing them you care! (see Sun-Pat Peanut Butter doing exactly this, below).

Sun-Pat social customer service engagement

People love brands talking to them. The Sprout Social Index has shown that after engaging with a customer:

  • 70% of people are more likely to use a brand’s product or service.
  • 65% have more brand loyalty and 25% are less likely to go to a competitor.
  • 75% of people are likely to share a positive experience on their own social profile (and we all know how powerful word of mouth is).

So having read the above (and hopefully you’re still with me!), how is your company performing on social media? I’m hopeful that you’re in the 11% who are responding to online queries, however if your tail is currently between your legs then it’s never too late to turn things around…

Are you approaching customer comms with the customer experience at heart? Do your marketing and customer service teams have shared goals? Have you explored the value of social customer service? Do you have the right people responding to customers online? You might also want to consider getting some social media training for your staff and learning from successful social media marketing case studies.

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