When it comes to mobile marketing, social media can be one of your most powerful tools. When misused however, it can be your Achilles’ heel

What many forget about social media is that the communication works both ways. Not only can a business communicate with customers, but customers can send messages and post on a business’s profile. When those messages go ignored for too long, people take notice. This is bad enough when the message or post is a positive one. When the message or post is a critique, it is even worse when your business fails to address it in a timely manner. The individual who posted it and others who happen to see it will be wondering why it is being ignored.

Businesses who aren’t staying on top of their social media responses are in danger of losing customers as they begin to think the business simply doesn’t care. Here are a few facts about social media and customer service.

Customer expectations on social media

According to a poll, 42% of customers expect their comments or questions to be responded to within 1 hour on social media. Another 32% are even more impatient, expecting a response within 30 minutes. Many of these same people believe it should be no different on weekends with 57% saying response times shouldn’t slow on weeknights and weekends when businesses are often closed.

When these expectations aren’t met, it could spell disaster. According to the same poll, only 36% of people say their comments, complaints, or questions were addressed in a timely manner. 38% said that they felt negatively toward businesses that didn’t respond quickly enough.

Reality of response times

Now that we’ve established what customers’ expectations are, let’s look at what reality is. For the 100 top US retailers, the average response time on Facebook is approximately 24 hours. On Twitter, the response time is much quicker with an average of 11 hours and 15 minutes. While many would consider this pretty quick, it’s nowhere near the high standard customers are expecting.

Small business and social, can it work?

Anyone who has owned a small businesses knows that improving response times is much harder than it sounds. One option is to hire someone to take care of the task full time. That person would be responsible for managing the business’s social media accounts and responding to comments and questions. Many business owners aren’t in a position to pay somebody to respond to questions on Facebook full time. In this case, a smartphone is a business owner’s best friend. Choose notification tones that are unique to your social media accounts. Set up auto responders on your social platforms. Explore the possibility of a chatbot, to assure customers have a way of reaching you 24/7. Consider AI texting software.

SourceMobile Marketing Watch