One thing that I find when speaking with clients and others on the topic of social media is there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of what social is all about. Most of them seem to approach social as yet another megaphone. The reality is that social media is a hearing aid. Most of them want to be speaking when they really ought to be listening, and that fundamental difference has resulted in some pretty disturbing trends.
First, data shows that companies are speaking a lot more in social than they are listening. Brands send four times as many posts as replies, according to data from the latest Sprout Social survey. My guess is that this has to do with a couple of factors. First, the management team is still fixed on the old way of thinking about marketing: we talk, you listen. Second, this results in a content strategy, not a service strategy. Third, it’s easy to hire a single social manager who can schedule your posts in advance and work across many social platforms. All of this is pretty wrong in my book.
I won’t spend any time on the changed (notice past tense) nature of marketing. The customer is in control of the brand to a large extent – deal with it. If you’re listening to what those customers are saying you must, be nature, be servicing what you’re hearing unless you don’t mind missing golden opportunities. Sprout Social’s data says brands are, in fact, doing just that. Most brands ignore 88% of messages on social media. That’s 7 in 8 social messages to brands go unanswered within 72 hours. Sad…
Finally, brands are not set up to support constant service. I know resources are a challenge, but as I’ve said to clients, if you can’t support a platform properly you need to wait to deploy there. Social media is still in its infancy, and like any infant it requires constant monitoring and support. Ignoring customers almost 9 times out of 10 is insane.
We need to be responsive and engaged. We need to use the hearing aids and drop the megaphones. You agree?