The benefits of using social media engagement to increase a brand’s bottom line has been a topic of discussion for years. Unfortunately, many businesses continue to use social media mainly as a sales pitch instead of a way to actually communicate with their customers.
According to Sprout Social, “While brands view Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as broadcast outlets for pumping out promotional content, consumers recognize these social channels for what they truly are: powerful portals for two-way dialogue.” Sprout Social recently conducted a survey and found that 90% of respondents have used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand. Social media surpasses phone and email as the first place most people (34.5%) turn when they have a problem with a product or service – and brands reply to just 11% of the people.
Why is the reply rate so low? Because brands prefer promotions, which do play an important role in the overall communications plan, “but the balance on social is way off. Brands send 23 promotional messages for every one response given to their audience … It gets worse. When brands respond—if they respond—they let people hang for an average of 10 hours, even though most people consider under four hours reasonable,” according to the survey.
Misguided social efforts can result in considerable damage. According to Sprout Social’s consumer survey:
- 73% of people have had a negative experience with a brand on social.
- 36% of people have used social to shame a company for poor customer service.
- 30% of people will go to a competitor if a brand doesn’t respond.
Here’s what their survey found when they “asked people how they feel when a brand responds or reaches out to them on social:
- 70% of people are more likely to use a brand’s product or service.
- 65% of people have more brand loyalty.
- 25% of people are less likely to go to a competitor.
- 25% of people are less likely to post negative things about the brand, product or service.
- 75% of people are likely to share a good experience on their own profile.”
If you’re not investing properly in an inbound marketing plan, it may be time to rethink your strategy to develop better relationships with your customers.
Full survey report: Sprout Social