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Social Media Response Times Are More Important Than Ever

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Social media response times are a huge miss for many brands. It seems their focus is more about broadcasting their messages to the masses.

The reality is that while some brands struggle to reply in a timely fashion, many just don’t respond at all. As a result, that neglect is leading to less loyalty and lost business.

We’ve got advice on how (and why) to put your customers’ social media response times on the priority list.

Why Social Media Response Times Are Critical

First of all, think of a time when you’ve been ignored by a brand. Maybe it was at a brick-and-mortar location or maybe you waited days (weeks?) for a response to your support email.

I know how mad those situations make me! So why are we pretending that social media response times are any different?

Here at B Squared Media, we’ve seen huge increases in volume through social due to COVID-19. And we’re not alone.

According to research by Intercom

Wait times have increased by 27 minutes, on average, across both B2B and B2C.

I tried to get my Mac fixed during the pandemic and it literally took months since Apple stores were not operational. I sat on the phone for countless hours. My experience left me incredibly close to leaving the Apple family.

The question you should be asking yourself is: Are we responding quickly enough to our customers on social media?

Probably not.

Same Day Social Media Response Times Are Expected

For starters, data from the 2020 Sprout Social Index underscores the importance of a same-day response.

Forty percent of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours.

However, when you look at average response rates by industry it is clear brands are failing to meet their customers where they are.

sprout-social-industry-social-media-response-times

[Image Source]

Most consumers go to a brand’s social media page for support — not for their marketing messages. To be a forward-thinking business, your focus will need to be on the customer.

Fun Fact: Earning the ‘Very Responsive’ badge on your Facebook Page means you will need to respond to 90% of the messages you receive within 15 minutes or less.

Customer experience (CX) and delivering high levels of customer satisfaction should be your top priority.

Furthermore, while phone and email have been considered the top choices for customer care, social media support is growing rapidly.

Social Support Leads To Loyalty

The degree of customer care you provide to your customers plays a huge role in whether or not a customer returns.

In short, customer loyalty is directly tied to social media response times. And in recent Sprout Index data, 44% of consumers also say customer service distinguishes a brand from its peers.

Speedy social support gives your brand a lift by:

  • Meeting customer expectations
  • Keeping customers from looking for help/answers elsewhere (i.e. competitors!)
  • Interacting with customers; having your finger on the pulse of what they truly desire

To build a thriving social media community, you will need to address every mention. You’ll need to think conversation. And you’ll need to show that you truly care about your customers.

Above all, authentically interacting with your social media followers is the ONLY way to differentiate your brand on social.

How To Ensure Stellar Social Media Response Times

To start, here are some of the response time strategies we use:

  1. Use a social media dashboard (we use Sprout Social). Without one, you’ll be spending far too much time logging in and out of native platforms … which won’t help you be fast!
  2. Document your frequently asked questions (FAQs). This allows you to catalog questions and approved responses no matter who is responsible for managing response times.
  3. Triage incoming messages. We organize messages by labeling them green, yellow, or red. Most importantly, you need to label what’s most critical to closing the loop.
  4. Automate where you can. Automated and suggested replies can help you move faster. For example, many social media tools allow you to save replies which you can use later for similar questions. Chatbots may or may not be another option.
  5. Ensure a team lead can help with difficult questions. Whether they’re on your team, or on the client-side, ensure you have specialized team members who deal specifically with tough questions.
  6. Increase customer loyalty through positive comments. Don’t just focus on the negative mentions! Be sure to engage with positive comments as well so your community sees that you’re listening and you care.
  7. Choose benchmarks to measure against. To ensure you’re getting better with your social media response times, be sure you’re tracking your average response time. Important metrics to understand are: 1) how many messages you’ve sent and received, 2) what your reply rate is, and 3) your average response time in minutes.

But that’s not all. There’s one more BIGGIE.

Let Social Listening Take You To A Proactive Place

Finally, you should also incorporate social listening into your social-fist customer care strategy. Using social listening helps you go from a reactive social media approach to a proactive one.

Furthermore, social media listening tools allow you to see beyond direct mentions. Although most customers will tag your brand on social media, others will not. Missing out on these interactions means missing the opportunity to resolve issues or connect with customers.

sprout-social-listening-tool

[Sprout Social Social Media Listening]

You can set up ‘listeners’ on things like …

  • Your brand’s name
  • The website
  • Branded hashtags
  • Industry terms
  • Competitors

Adding these terms to your social listening tool ensures your team is automatically receiving valuable data on these terms.

Show Your Customers You Care

Customer expectations are increasing. Personalization, ease of use, and speed are critical to your online success.

To meet your customers’ growing expectations, be sure your social media response times match their standards.

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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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Category: Social Media Marketing
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