Social media has taken the country by storm. It is difficult to find someone who doesn’t have either a Facebook page or Twitter account. It isn’t surprising that businesses have taken to the various social media outlets to reach out to current and prospective customers. Even though social media has been around for quite some time, this is still a relatively new area of advertising for businesses.
Businesses are finding that one of the most important things to keep in mind when using social media, as an advertising tool, is their response time to engagements they receive via those outlets. Simply put, the time it takes for a business to respond to people who engage the company via social media is vital to their social growth and how the general public perceives them. This is especially true for small businesses whose existences depend on a strong customer base and word-of-mouth touting.
Engagements That Require A Response
Many businesses make the mistake of only responding to questions. While it is important that questions receive responses, there are many other types of social media engagements that deserve responses. For instance, if a customer says something nice about your product or service, your business should respond with a Like, Retweet, or +1 at a minimum. This signals to the commenter and general audience that your business is listening and appreciates complements. By not responding, you are signaling that you could care less about someone going out of his or her way to advocate for your business. Other types of engagements that should draw responses include comments responding to posted content, posts or mentions of the business, and reviews, whether positive or negative.
Average Response Times
Despite the apparent importance of using social media to their advantage, so far businesses have not been quick to jump on the bandwagon. According to http://www.emarketer.com, most industries have a response time ranging between 9.5 and 14.5 hours [http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Social-Media-Response-Rates-Times-Dip-User-Engagement-Explodes/1010565]. This represents a significant amount of time between the initial engagement by a current or prospective customer and the business’s response. Imagine visiting or calling a business because you are interested in their product or service, or just to say something nice, and it takes you 9.5 to 14.5 to get someone’s attention. Having such a long response time can lead to the loss of a potential customer or even worse, upset a current client. Thus, it is imperative for small businesses to be mindful of there social media response times.
The Opportunity To Impress
To meet the average response time mark a business needs to check their social media accounts for engagement once every morning and once every evening. However, we know that average just isn’t enough. Instead, your business should create a system that ensures its social media accounts are checked for engagement and responses provided at least three times per day: morning, afternoon, and evening. Creating such a system will enable your business to respond to engagement in a manner that will make prospective and current customers feel valued, fuel additional engagements, and stimulate client advocacy via social media.
Technology has made the world smaller and more connected. The Internet has provided consumers with a seemingly infinite amount of ways to spend their money. As a result, the modern consumer demands information and connectivity. It is vital to the survival of small businesses to use that same technology to their advantage of the dynamic of today’s marketplace. Small businesses need to grab the bull by the horns and start using social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn to their advantage. Not only do small businesses need to establish a professional social media presence, they need to engage the public with stimulating content. But, it can’t stop there. Businesses must reduce their response time to social engagements to prove to their customers that their voice is valued. It’s not just common sense; it’s good business.
Jorge Salazar, Esq.