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BizReport : Social Marketing : May 11, 2016

Brands continue to ignore fans on social media

It is common sense that ignoring customers will cause them to dismiss a brand and head elsewhere yet, according to new data from Sprout Social, that is exactly what many brands are doing on social media.

by Helen Leggatt

The use of social media by consumers looking for query resolution and customer service is not a new phenomenon. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become the go-to places to interact with brands. Indeed, the number of social messages needing a response has increased by 20% over the past year, says Sprout Social.

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However, as the new data from Sprout Social reveals, most brands on social media are not paying good enough attention to their consumers who choose to communicate via social media. In their survey of more than 1,000 active users of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during Q2 2016, of which 90% respondents said they had used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand, they found that just 11% of brands were answering social inquiries. On the flip side, they send out 23 promotional messages for every response provided to their fans. The conversation is definitely very one-sided.

Customers say they expect to hear back from a brand within one to four hours after they send them a message on social. But brands make customers wait an average of 11 hours, if they ever do respond.

The backlash is predictable - fans will abandon brands. Perhaps just as damaging, a third (36%) of ignored fans will go on to shame the brand on their own social media profiles.

"People aren't asking for the world. They would simply like to hear back when they reach out to your brand," says Sprout Social. "If your responses lag for a bit, that's totally reasonable in the eyes of most people - but within an acceptable range of under 4 hours. After that, most people are out; in fact, they may even switch to a competitor. Brands need to rethink their social strategies and staff up accordingly. Social is a shared effort that should be tackled by all the parts of your organization that have some skin in the game - from sales to HR. The payoff of positioning yourself as a truly social business can be staggering, from its effect on retention to referrals to R&D."

Tags: brand marketing, customer service, loyalty marketing, research, social media

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