For a growing number of brands, social platforms have become key customer service channels, enabling consumers to get in touch, quickly and easily, on the platforms that they're already using, while also providing businesses with an opportunity to address and resolve concerns, and provide further assistance as needed.
And as more businesses jump on the social customer care train, that then raises the bar of expectation for others. These days, consumers expect to be able to shoot businesses a quick message, or tweet a brand handle and get a reply.
That increased expectation is underlined in a new survey from Boston Digital, which incorporates responses from 554 people in regards to why they follow brands on social, what they expect to see, in terms of content, and what turns them away.
You can read the full results in BD's report, but here's a summary of some key highlights.
First off, the responses show that the key reason why people follow brands on social is to get more information about that businesses' products.
As you can see, the top two responses are 'Helpful information related to one of my hobbies' and 'Product information'. That underlines the key use case for your social audience - while sharing content that'll see more engagement, like inspirational quotes or memes, might see your numbers jump, if it drifts too far from your core use case, you're not helping to build your brand. Better to have ten followers who'll become paying customers than a thousand whose only contributions will be in the form of post likes.
That said, 'Funny or interesting content' does come in as the third most common reason for following a brand page, so there is clearly some value to this. But the overall data here would suggest that the focus should be on your core offerings, and staying on brand with your social content.
'Insider deals' comes in at fourth on the list - which is interesting in relation to the next element.
Promotions and exclusive deals are the top two reasons why respondents indicated that they're likely to make a purchase based on a brand's social media activity, so providing a level of exclusivity, and keeping your audience informed of relevant offers, is another key use case.
In combination, these first two elements suggest that product information/updates are the key focus, with some entertaining content mixed in, along with exclusive offers and deals. I mean, those results are likely what many would have expected, but worth noting in your strategic planning either way.
From a social customer care perspective, Boston Digital also asked respondents why they're most likely to get in touch with a brand via social.
The top two responses are 'questions about product/service' and 'problem with product service' - so both key customer service areas. 'Positive feedback about their offering' comes in a way back from the top two responses, but that also somewhat underlines the customer service impact.
As noted in the intro, more consumers are looking for this type of assistance on social. It's worth considering if/how you can provide it, and improve on your process.
That, specifically, is reflected in the next element.
More than half of respondents said that it was either 'extremely' or 'very' important for a brand to respond to their feedback on social. For the most part, it probably goes without saying, but if you're not paying attention to customer queries online, you're missing out, and it's worth re-assessing your processes to address such.
And summing this up, among the most common reasons why people unfollow brands is 'content not relevant' and 'lack of response to questions or comments'.
Posting too frequently is another turn off, as is boring content - while disagreement with company values is another noted issue. On the latter, it's important to separate your personal and professional presences, and while data does suggest that younger consumers, in particular, better align with brands that take a social stance, it is worth considering how you communicate such, and whether your brand profile is the right place to focus those efforts.
As noted, there's more insight in Boston Digital's full report, covering a range of key elements and considerations for your social media strategy. If you've not caught up on some of these aspects, it's worth taking in the data, and looking at whether you can better cater to rising consumer demands via your social presence.