In 2015, the total world population was 7.3 billion. The internet had 3.17 billion users, 2.3 billion of which were active on social media. Again, let’s just let that sink in – 2.3 billion people – Tweeting, Liking, posting, and ready to engage with brands.
One of the most vital rules in marketing is to engage where your audience is. In other words, live where they live. With this in mind, brands big and small have continued to adopt and adapt strategies on social media channels – knowing these channels serve an important purpose in their customers’ everyday lives.
But social media is a tricky, often complicated medium for brands to master. Many fail, despite their best intentions. And this failure stems from a struggle to adhere to the demands of social media’s engagement model. Social is unique because it requires 2-way communication and eliminates walls between brand and consumer. On social, there is no B2B or B2C. Instead, lines are blurred and every interaction becomes H2H – human-to-human.
H2H opens as many opportunities as it presents challenges. On one hand, it gives new freedoms for brands to showcase and cultivate personalities. It enables them to speak directly to consumers, thereby allowing them to build and strengthen loyal connections. It’s a personal touch – where global brands can reach, interact, and engage with each person on a one-to-one level.
But, H2H is also demanding. In a landscape where consumers are able to reach out directly to brands, they demand a response. They expect a conversation. And, often that conversation concerns customer support.
Currently, more that 80% of all customer service requests occur via Twitter. And in the past 2 years alone, customer-to-brand Tweets have increased by 2.5x – a majority of which are service related. In these interactions, consumers have high expectations for a quick response: 53% expect a brand to respond to their Tweet in less than an hour. That figure skyrockets to 72% when they have complaints. When brands don’t meet these expectations, 38% of consumers feel negatively about the brand and a full 60% will take unpleasant actions to express their dissatisfaction.
The point is that brands must act on social media because the stakes are high. Social success in today’s landscape requires Social Care. Brands can’t just Tweet into the void and expect results, and they can’t stay silent when their consumers come to them directly with gripes or concerns. They must engage, and that engagement requires a strategic Social Care program.
Social Care refers to a social strategy that allows brands to field customer service via their social media channels. A few years ago, this was plus for brands – an unnecessary, “nice-to-have” kind of strategy. But today, it is an essential requirement for any social media program.
At Rational, we’re proven Social Care experts. Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing insights, benchmarks, tips, and tricks for running successful Social Care strategies.