What makes a brand the “best in class” in the field of social media marketing?
Almost every company would like to answer this question. Customers keep asking me what other companies are doing about social media marketing best practices. Companies want to learn and get better in social media marketing – yes, also in 2021.
That was the question Sprout Social employees wanted to ask more than 1,000 marketers and consumers earlier this year.
When they asked marketers, it wasn’t surprising that the most common responses were related to engagement and content.
Three of the top 4 answers relate to content marketing or engagement. This is hardly surprising, given the strong focus on budget and resources in almost all marketing departments in 2021.
Marketers seem so focused on producing content that many brands are posting over 280 tweets and 140 Facebook posts per month! Yes, Salesforce did that in June. Yowzer.
Anecdotally, I have conducted many social media audits for large and medium-sized brands over the past 5 years and almost all of these audits have one thing in common: Brands post MUCH too much content.
So we know marketers believe that content is the key to success in social media marketing – but what does their target audience think?
Almost the opposite.
The three most important characteristics of a “best-in-class” brand focus on customer service and engagement.
Something that most brands aren’t very good at – and don’t use resources effectively.
Do not believe me? Let’s look at some more stats from Sprout.
Let’s look at inbound message volume and response time – two pretty common metrics brands should be tracking when it comes to social media marketing. The table above shows some stunning statistics. The banking industry, for example, records an impressive DM volume every day (almost 60%). But they only reply to just over a quarter of those messages a day. This is an industry that doesn’t have the best reputation for customer service – those numbers should be flipped!
Now many of these industries have a more positive response rate. However, only six of the above industries respond to more than 50% of customer direct messages every day! 6 out of 17 – that’s not a good rate.
Also, remember that now (especially during COVID when everything went online) social media is the preferred method not only for customer service but also for sharing feedback with brands.
And it’s really not that close. I also suspect that if you stratified this data by age group, this data would be significantly higher for younger generations. So this is quickly becoming the norm – not the exception. Bottom line: Social media is now your primary customer service channel.
Why are marketers still so obsessed with content and not engaging with customers, listening to them and solving problems for them?
First and foremost, because there’s a lot more money in the content marketing game. Content marketing is also easier to “see” – you create content, share it on social networks, and measure the results. And let’s face it, most brands aren’t that interested in engaging with their audience anyway. They would much prefer one-way communication by crowding out things on social networks. We saw it over and over again.
But of course, customers value service, listening and commitment. It has become the most important way many people interact with brands on social media. And it’s time we equip this piece of social media marketing accordingly.
It’s time to hire full-time community managers.
It’s time to develop community management playbooks so that different members of your team can intervene if necessary.
And it’s time to start budgeting for customer service, listening, and engagement. Whether it’s the number of employees or supplier support – it’s time to take these things seriously.
Your customers demand it.