Connection. That’s what social media is supposed to be all about, right? But if the research is to be believed, that depends.
When researchers surveyed undergraduate students, they got a different answer. Most of the undergrads said they used social media to alleviate boredom. Results from another survey showed that the emotion most often elicited by social media was envy, not connectedness.
A third study showed that people who had used Facebook felt less satisfied with their lives. The more they used it, the more their satisfaction dropped. Ouch!
Activity and engagement create energy for your business
Active Facebook users experienced the opposite. Those who engaged with content, left comments, and used the chat feature felt better, not worse.
What does this mean for your business? If you want to reach the mainstream and promote growth, provide entertaining content that encourages connections on social networks.
Because if we prompt our audience to become active, rather than passive, consumers of content, we will satisfy the needs of our own business and make our consumers happy as well. We create energy, rather than fatigue. We create followers . . . and they create followers, and the beat goes on.
So go ahead. Share content that promotes action. Promote your events. Create interactive user experiences. Provide information people can use. Then be direct in encouraging people to share it and to use it.
Remember the customer service angle
However, there’s another angle on this. And that angle is customer service. Customers who post questions to a business or brand via social media expect a response within four hours, according to some. But other research says that window is even smaller, indicating that whether a question is posed on Twitter or Facebook, users expect a reply within an hour. Yes, one hour.
That kind of response rate is rare. And as it turns out, getting a response at all is uncommon. That’s because companies ignore 70% of Facebook questions. Yep. Seventy percent. As hard as it is to believe, when Facebook followers post their questions online, only 30 percent of them get their questions answered.
When you consider that connecting with consumers is the goal of having a presence on social media, failing to reach out and answer the queries posted by consumers is self-defeating. Particularly when statistics show that customers receiving a response on Twitter spend 20 percent more and recommend brands 30 percent more actively
Stand out like Starbucks
With businesses failing so mightily at connecting with their consumers, it seems easy to stand out just by improving customer service. That means:
- providing interactive, shareable content,
- asking consumers to use it and to share it, and
- answering customer service questions quickly and completely.
Take Starbucks, for example. The chain keeps its social media profiles ups to date, interacts with customers, responds to their every issue by delivering efficient and uninterrupted customer support, and considers meaningful feedback valuable. It even established a separate Twitter account with the handle @MyStarbucksIdeas to receive customer queries. It now has more than 51,000 followers.
Reap the rewards
Reap the rewards of social media platforms by connecting with your customers and improving your customer service. Deliver interactive and professional content; listen to your customers; build an online community by setting up a Facebook group for your customers to join; and respond promptly to their questions, reviews, and comments.
You’ll help generate revenue, improve your online visibility, and expand your customer reach.