Social Media: The One Thing 70% of Brands Do Wrong [Research]

5 Tactics to Make Your Business More Responsive

On social media platforms, people expect businesses to acknowledge and respect them as human beings. Unfortunately, most brands just use social media to spray their promotional messages instead of connecting with their prospects, customers and the public.

Businesses must treat followers like people because social media is person-to-person to modify Heather Meza’s words. Social media isn’t just another advertising platform where companies can get free promotion in the form of earned media. 

70% of global brands don’t engage with consumers on social media according to Social Bakers.  Further, one quarter of global companies go as far as closing their wall on Facebook to prevent fans from asking any questions at all. If this sounds like your business, you can change the social media conversation.

How companies respond to customers and the public on social media

One metric to assess company responsiveness is how long it takes for an organization to respond to customers on social media venues – if at all. While Social Bakers believes firms should respond to two-thirds of its questions on social media, the average is about 30%. Here’s how the top ten industries stack up.

Customers expect businesses to answer their questions and provide information via social media, notably Facebook and company blogs. Interestingly, senior business executives hold similar views. (BTW– This is in line with Marcus Sheridan’s proposition that businesses need to listen to their prospects and customers.) 

One in six consumers on Facebook expect a response to their questions in under thirty minutes. Further, although the average response time is twenty-six hours, over half of the respondents expect a same-day-or-sooner response.

Companies must understand that this disconnect is important to their followers.

5 Social media tactics businesses need to respond to prospects and customers

Until you answer the questions your prospects and customers have, they won’t purchase. Here are five tactics to make your social media efforts more responsive.

  1. Determine where and how you’ll respond to customer queries on social media. Based on the communications your organization currently receives, categorize commonly asked questions and requests for information that require specific responses and can be public and questions that require personal answers.
  2. Create a processes to respond these three categories of inquiries: general questions on social media, specific questions on social media and specific questions off social media. Include a way for each question to be handled and provide the resources, both customer service and marketing, to respond either publically or privately as is appropriate. This can be difficult if it requires a major shift in how your organization currently operates. As part of this process, incorporate a way to elevate customer service issues as well as to share a sampling of queries with senior management.
  3. Train customer service and social media representatives to respond to these queries using social media. This means that they need to understand how to engage on social media, as well as how to follow your company’s processes. Further, empower your representatives to resolve issues with a win-win attitude.
  4. Let your prospects and customers know where to contact you on social media. Use your internal media to answer questions and encourage engagement where you are available to have the conversation.
  5. Leverage content marketing to answer customer questions. Here’s where a blog is useful since you can just answer one customer question in each post. Further, this content is highly shareable and search-friendly. Where appropriate, link to the actual product on your business blog. (Of course, it’s important to ensure your content instills trust in your readers!)

Your organization must acknowledge and respect  your prospects, customers and the public on social media networks, including blogs. To achieve this, you must treat them like people and respond to them in a timely fashion.

Does your company answer customer questions on social media? If so, what has been the response?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bswise/4621075758/

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  • http://twitter.com/thesocialfoodie Josh Hersh

    Great article, Heidi!! I can’t believe how these larger companies are just ignoring customers. Responding to customers seems so social media marketing 101. This provides an even wider opening for smaller brands to get in there and win over customers!

  • Aliza Earnshaw

    Very well laid out article. It’s interesting to see that a number of smaller companies are doing social media customer service quite well – they’re responsive and friendly, as the big brands should be.

  • hayley

    @ aliza I agreed with you that mostly small companies are doing quite good in capturing the customers on social media as compared to large companies. They gives ease to their customers.