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New Study: How Are Your Listening Skills When It Comes To Social Media?

Traci Browne
May 26, 2016
social media responsiveness

Sprout Social recently released their Q2 2016 social media report, and their message is clear: stop shunning your customers on social media!

The report focuses on the social media activity of brands, but there is a lot other organizations can learn from it as well.

Sprout Social found a huge divide in how people want to interact with organizations and how organizations interact with their audience. They found that brands, on average, send 23 promotional messages for every one response given to their audience. It is the worst Sprout has seen that ratio in the three years they have been tracking it.

Ninety percent of people surveyed said they used social media in some way to communicate directly with a brand. What’s more, social surpasses phone and email as the first place most people turn when they have a problem or issue with a product or service. Yet, only 11 percent of these interactions ever receive a response.

So on top of inundating their audience with promotional messages, brands are ignoring their audience as well?

How Does Your Organization Compare?

Look at your organization’s social media feed over the past month. Are you just sending out promotional messages, or are you actually being social? Compare the number of promotional posts versus the number of posts where you share other’s content, respond to a direct question, recognize and thank someone for sharing your content, or simply start a conversation with someone.

You also want to take a look at how often people are engaging with the content you post. Analyze what type of content they are engaging with and then create a plan to do more of that. I’m not saying promotions have no place in your social media feed, just that you need to make sure you have the right balance between marketing and conversation. The scales should tip in favor of good old-fashioned conversation.

Response Time Is Critical

Sprout Social’s survey also found a significant disparity between what customers felt was a good response time on social media and how long it took brands to respond. Customers expected responses somewhere between immediately and four hours. The average response time was actually more like ten hours.

Given that social media is the first place people go to get their questions answered, a fast response time is crucial especially while your event is underway. If someone reaches out via social media asking what the dress code is for the big gala that night, responding an hour before, or completely ignoring them, is going to leave a sour taste in their mouth.

Immediately addressing someone’s complaint can make a huge difference in the satisfaction level of a disgruntled attendee. Studies have shown that the way you handle a complaint has a far greater impact than the reason for the complaint itself.

Look back on your social feed during your last event. How many questions went unanswered, or were answered once it was already too late? If even one question or complaint fell through the cracks, you know you need to pay closer attention during your next event. Assign someone on your staff to constantly monitor the feed and provide quick resolutions and answers.

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