According to Pew Research Center, 74% of internet users are on social networking sites. With numbers that high, it’s not surprising that 80% of Fortune 500 companies have a presence on social media (Source: Simply Measured).
But, just because companies and individuals have a Facebook or Twitter account doesn’t necessarily mean they are actively engaged. In fact, most social media marketers would likely agree that there is a whole lot of one-way communication going on in the social sphere.
- You see a great article, you post it.
- You hear some breaking news, you share it.
- You see a great recipe, you pin it.
But, how often do you actually carry on a conversation with someone on social media? (Other than on your personal Facebook account, of course.)
Chances are … not very often.
So, why do 74% of internet users the world over even bother? Perhaps, for many, the answer is because ‘everyone’s doing it.’
This reminds me of a question my mom used to ask me when I was a kid. I would insist I needed a certain brand of jeans or specific style of shoes because – everyone sing along – “Everyone has them, Mom” to which she would promptly ask,
“If everyone else walked off a cliff, would you follow them?”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a huge proponent of social media. I believe it is a great channel to learn about new developments, to share your expertise with others and to nurture relationships with your customers.
But, here’s the rub.
Too many companies are on social media because ‘everyone’s doing it’ rather than because they have made a premeditated decision to meet their target in that space and to engage with them.
A study conducted by Convince & Convert revealed that 70% of consumer complaints on Twitter are actually ignored.
I don’t know about you, but I find that statistic alarming.
In their article, “The Value of Complaints,” the author shares,
“96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, however 91% of those will simply leave and never come back.”
When you think about the ease of tweeting at a brand or the ability to easily vent frustrations on Facebook, social media instantly becomes an extremely important customer service channel. Perhaps, that 96% of non-complainers will begin to shrink as people turn to social media for quick solutions to their brand problems. To then be ignored, well, I think you know the ending to that story.
What is the moral to this story?
“If you are a drive-by social media marketer, you could be doing a greater disservice to your brand than if you were not on social media at all.”
Your mere presence on a site indicates a willingness to engage with customers. If you ignore their comments, you are not only missing a golden opportunity to connect with them, but also fueling a potentially volatile situation.
So, let me ask you … are you willing to walk off a cliff just because everyone is doing it?
If your answer is yes, perhaps you need to rethink your strategy.