Consumers Say Social Is Preferred Customer Service Channel

The following was previously published in an earlier edition of Social Media Insider.

A report from social media research firm Sprout Social finds that social media usage has increased substantially  over the past year.

Over 70% of consumers say their social media usage is up over the past year, with three-quarters of Generation X, Generation Z and millennials all reporting greater usage. More than half of baby boomers also report greater social media activity.

The research, from Spout’s latest “Index Report,” also found a disconnect between consumer expectations of brands on social and how brands prioritize their channels.

Consumers increasingly expect great customer service on social, according to the report, which surveyed over 1,000 consumers and 1,000 marketers for the study. Social media is the most-preferred channel for consumers to share feedback about a product or service (31%) and raise customer service issues or questions (33%), with nearly half (47%) saying strong customer service is the top trait that makes a brand best-in-class on social.

However, marketers rank customer service much lower on their list of priorities, falling behind five other attributes when asked to define what makes an exceptional brand on social, including engagement, content and transparency.

The report also found that social media is playing a more significant role in driving bottom-line growth as social commerce grows, Nine out of 10 consumers will buy from brands they follow on social, and 86% will choose that brand over a competitor, while 85% will buy from that brand more often.

Facebook remains the most-used social platform according to the Sprout report, while TikTok has become one of the top-5 platforms that consumers use to follow brands. But surprisingly few brands are exploiting that potential opportunity, as only about a third of the marketers surveyed are currently on the platform. 

While 88% of marketers agree their social strategy positively influences their bottom line, only 15% of marketers use social data to measure ROI.

“Marketers have an opportunity to educate the rest of their organizations on the power of social and where the future of business intelligence lies,” the report concludes. “When the entire organization learns to embrace social data, they’ll discover the path forward to rapid growth—and marketers will be the ones to show them the way.”

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