Econsultancy conducted a survey last month looking in to the behaviours of companies within the UK on social networking sites.
Key sites such as Facebook and Twitter were measured to show how companies responded to questions and comments from customers.
– Statistics show that 20 of the top 25 retailers had an account on Twitter, with a reported average of 69,000 followers.
– Despite the researchers actively engaging with the brand and asking questions, none of the retailers followed them back. This means customers can’t get in touch to provide details to help get their problem sorted out, or to move the discussion to another channel.
– Only 25% of retailers with a Twitter account responded to a question directed at them. While 20% responded to negative comments which had been directed at them, compared with 10% that replied to positive ones.
– For those that replied the average response time was 94 minutes, which isn’t bad. By comparison email response times were 10 hours on average, which says a lot about the quality of email service.
– Fewer (72%) of the 25 retailers had a Facebook page, but the average number of fans was higher, at 258,000.
– Retailers responded to questions more promptly on Facebook, an average response time of 78 minutes, while 88% gave a helpful answer.
– When it came to responding to positive or negative comments, the figures were different. Just 17% responded to a positive comment on their wall, taking an average of 112 minutes to respond. Just 11% of brands responded to a negative comment left on the wall.
So, why don’t companies feel the need to engage with customers via social sites?
If businesses aren’t generating sales out of social networking, they are less likely to take valuable time out of their day to comment.
Is that the right way to think though? Social networking isn’t something that you should think of purely for sales; it’s about maintaining relationships with your customers.
Sometimes it’s worth outsourcing the service; this way you are not ignoring customers, but your also not using up valuable internal resources.
The report also revealed that only 52% of retailers have a blog on their website and 12% a YouTube channel.
Companies are using social networking as a way to bombard people with marketing, when in reality it should be looked at as free advertising. Millions of people around the world use these services and a simple comment can help provide a positive image for your company; for this to happen though, communications must be mutual.