Are 1 in 5 companies missing the point of social media?

Social Media iPhone

The need for companies to have a presence on social media is pretty much accepted wisdom now. Sure there are a few outliers who think that it’s all just a passing fad, but for the most part people get that they need to be there. The thing is, being on a social platform and using a social platform effectively are two very different things.

In fact, new research suggests that a lot of brands are getting some fairly fundamental things wrong. The research, which comes from Sprinklr — a company that specialises in enterprise social relationship infrastructure — shows that 20% of companies rarely, if ever, respond to customer complaints made via social.

It also shows that while around 80% of companies think they deliver superior customer experiences, only around eight percent of their paying customers agree.

That disconnect is especially evident in the differing attitudes to social complaints. Contrast that little factoid about in one in five companies never, or rarely, responding to social complaints with the expectation from pretty much all consumers that their complaints should be dealt with within an hour and you can see how much of a problem there potentially is.

Bear in mind that an upset customer probably isn’t just going to sit around stewing in their dissatisfaction either. Sprinklr says that 38% of consumers will feel more negative about a brand that fails to meet their expectations for timely social response and that six in 10 will “take unpleasant actions to express their dissatisfaction”.

It’s not just about keeping customers happy either. A bad social media strategy can play havoc with a business’ profits.

The study, which compiled publicly available data from over 120 large companies such as Samsung, Macy’s, Jeep, BMW, Sony, and H&M, shows that 11% of brands have lost revenue, 15% have lost customers, and 26% have tarnished reputations because of negative social comments.

A fairly large part of the problem, it seems, is that these companies are under-investing in social.

The study’s authors reckon that brands are under-investing in paid social media by 50% — a US$5-billion opportunity for marketers, technologists, and platforms alike.

In other words, companies are still taking social far too lightly. The corporate world may have moved past the “hand over social media to the interns because they’re young and they get it” phase, but a lot of people clearly haven’t realised just how powerful social can be.

It’s also worth remembering that, no matter how well organised your social media efforts are, the crowd can still make it go catastrophically wrong.



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