A Scenic Tour of the Online World

The Importance of Social Media Responsiveness

Friday, January 25th, 2013

We’ve posted in the past on Scott Hornstein’s annual email survey here and here, where he measures quality and timeliness of responses to customer service emails from the big boys – large, publicly traded companies, both B2B and B2C.

It’s good stuff, so I was excited to see this piece on Convince & Convert, Jay Baer’s social/content marketing firm.

It’s written by Ashley Verrill and outlines research her firm, Software Advice, undertook with CIO.com into how well large consumer brands are managing their social media presences – well, their Twitter accounts, at any rate, which is probably top of the list.

There’s an infographic accompanying that lays out the results – which companies responded, how quickly they responded and to what percentage of the messages did they respond.

Posts were made in five categories:

  1. Urgent
  2. Positive
  3. Negative
  4. Simple questions
  5. More technical questions

As you’ll see if you click through, the numbers are pretty weak. I understand that it’s an enormous burden to monitor and respond to the endless stream/firehose of social media content, but I get the sense that these firms are not being pro-active. It feels like they’re scanning the horizon for smoke but ignoring it until there are actual flames. By then, it’s too late and they struggle to get back on top of a negative viral event.

I would love to see the data in more depth. It would be interesting to know whether these brands respond more quickly to the urgent posts than to the negative posts, or to simple questions than to more complex questions that require more than a canned response.

Even without that deeper dive, it’s easy to see that brands still aren’t universally embracing the idea of two-way communication that social media can create. Too bad; it’s both a missed opportunity to strengthen customer relationships and potentially an instance where relationships are damaged.

In short, don’t “do” social media if you aren’t going to do it right. 


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