SproutSocial Social Engagement Index

Did you know only 1 out of 5 customer inquiries on Twitter and Facebook receives a response from a brand or business? Even when they are answered, the average response time is a dreadful 11 hours.

What a shame.

So many missing major opportunities – for new business, to save business, and to learn what your customers want.

I’m always surprised when I hear of businesses that ignore their customers on social media.

Instead of falling in with the anti-social majority, your business can stand out and delight customers on social media. Here’s how.

Put the “Social” Back in Social Media

Social media is not about simply broadcasting your products, services or content.

Rather, it’s about conversing with your customers and prospective clients. It’s called “social” after all.

To make matters worse for businesses unwilling to engage on social media, user engagement is on the rise, meaning customers are going to talk more. In fact, it’s growing nine times faster than the social networks themselves. This all according to the team at SproutSocial.

The “always on” consumer is also expecting a faster and more frequent response from business and brands.

Nearly half of consumers now expect businesses to respond to their tweets and posts within 1 hour. And that expectation grows if a customer is experiencing a service issue. Additionally, more than half of consumers expect businesses to respond during non-business hours.

So What’s A Business To Do?

How do you satisfy the ever-increasing needs of customers on social media?

Here are four easy steps you can take to engage customers better:

1. Use A Monitoring Tool

With the number of tools on the market, both free and paid, there’s really no excuse not to be able to monitor what’s being said about you on social media. You can use a free tool, like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, or go the paid route, like SproutSocial.

While your first step in monitoring social media is to follow your own channels, customers or potential clients often don’t post directly to your Facebook timeline or @mention you on Twitter.

Be sure to monitor keywords that include mentions of your business as well as topics that relate to your business. This can be a huge benefit to your business because this is where you’ll find new connections and business opportunities.

3. Give Thanks

Engagement goes beyond addressing customer concerns. The real power is in building relationships with both customers and advocates. By monitoring topics relevant to your business, you’ll discover opportunities to engage with potential clients and advocates.

You can start by simply complimenting someone for an article they published, or sharing some of their content with your audience.

Sometimes just offering to help with a challenge someone is having can be the start of a great relationship.

4. Stay Calm and Take the High Road

You’re bound to get complaints once in a while. Have a plan in place for how you’re going to react and manage these.

There are various levels of customer complaints, and they all need to be handled in their own unique way. LiveAgent gives some great tips on how to handle a complaining customer. The key through all of it is to stay positive and never get into an argument. Always take the high road.

What Tips Do You Have?

What’s your take? How do you engage with customers on social media? Comment below with your two cents.