The only guide you need to improve your social media response time.
Ever reached out to a brand on social media, only to receive radio silence from them?
Well, brands have become quick at catching up with trends and leveraging the latest social media platform. But when it comes to talking to their audience, most of them fall short.
According to research, the average social media response time for most brands lies between 24-48 hours. In fact, some even take days to respond to their audience, owing to the increasing number of conversations happening on social media.
If you have been losing out on conversations, and the opportunities that come with them, we’ve got you covered.
In this guide, we’re going to talk all about social media response times and how you can up your game this year.
What is social media response time?
Social media response time is the time you take to identify, craft an ideal reply to a comment or query posted by your target audience on any of the social platforms – be it negative or positive and then reach out to them with it.
Now if you’re wondering why responding to a comment made on social media on time matters so much, let us explain.
Why are social media response times critical?
When it comes to using social media, most businesses use them as just another channel to broadcast their ongoing promotions. Be it deals, discounts offers or their content, it’s mostly a one-sided conversation for most.
If you go into the comments section of a post on Facebook, Instagram, or any other channel, you’ll probably see a series of questions going unanswered.
These are people who have been following the brands on social media platforms, are interested in what they have to offer, and genuinely want to know more about them.
This only goes to say, that not responding to their comments, is equal to losing their interest. And that validates exactly why customer acquisition costs are also increasing by the day!
Image this scenario – you’re spending hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars to reach your target audience. You’re creating enticing content and offering to nudge an interaction from them, but when they do ‘engage’ with you, you’re not responding and they walk away.
So you start the whole cycle all over again, hoping that they’d convert this time.
That’s exactly why your social media response time matters.
But let’s take a look at some more reasons why social media response times are so critical today.
1. Your competition is increasing
No matter what industry you are in, the quality of products/ services you offer, or the deals and discounts available with you, there’s always competition.
With businesses, big and small, moving to digital, a typical consumer has the option to make the same or similar purchase from at least ten brands. Each of them wanting to outdo the other with a powerful feature set or offers to make.
That makes it important that when you have a consumer’s interest, you need to tap in and make the most of it.
2. Your competitors are always listening
Owing to the increasing competition, businesses are now investing more in social listening and competitor analysis. Contrary to earlier times, they have turned these into regular tasks instead of a one-time effort.
Now considering how 39% of consumers take to social to share a bad experience with a brand, you can be sure that your competitors are watching. It gives them the opportunity to not just reach out to this consumer and entice them with what they have to offer, but also identify your weaknesses more proactively.
3. You are risking your potential sales
As per studies, businesses are losing up to $75 billion to poor customer service in the United States alone. This only goes to show that consumers are now seeking proactive customer service and not just reactive, and your response time is indicative of what you offer.
If you still fall under reactive customer service, you can be sure of risking losing your potential sales to competitors. Like we said, they’re always listening as it is!
4. You are risking losing customers
Not just potential sales, but also your customers are at risk of walking away if your social media response rate is at an all time low.
According to a study by Gartner, customers are more likely to stick to a brand for a longer period of time if their service expectations are being met. Now the time you take to respond to their social media outreach also falls under the same – for all segments of customers – happy, sad, and neutral.
For example, a customer is really happy with the purchase they made from you. So they take to social media to share their experience. Their WOW moment is created; but when you don’t respond to this ‘moment’, you lose out on the opportunity to reinforce the value you just bought to them, and it becomes a passing thing.
Let’s take another scenario.
A customer just subscribed to your service and is not happy with it. They go to social media and share their negative experiences with their network. Your inability to respond to them on time will only result in their message reaching more people, and an impression of you being ignorant to their challenges starts to form.
If your competitors are using social listening, that’s an opportunity for them to take a swipe at your customer!
The same goes for customers who have had a neutral experience with you. They can be easily swayed towards your competitors if they see a proactive response and engagement from them.
So if you ask us, your social media response time is more important than you think!
But to get better at responding to your customers on social media and collate insights from the conversations, you need a strategy in place.
How to create a successful social media response strategy?
Your social media response strategy may vary from industry to industry, depending on the segment of customers you’re addressing. But ensuring that you have the following accounted for in your strategy will go a long way in helping you succeed:
1. Develop clear social media guidelines
If you have a team managing different social media platforms, you need to ensure that their strategies are on the same page. While most businesses have their brand guidelines in place, their response guidelines are all over the place and usually reactive in nature.
Establish clear guidelines on what posts your team should be liking, reposting or replying to. At the same time, also define the organization’s tone of voice that needs to be followed on social media to keep it consistent with your brand guidelines.
2. Establish seamless communication between departments
Regardless of how big or small your organization is, or the number of departments you’re running, you need to ensure smooth communication between all members to ensure a good social media response rate.
For example, there will be times a customer reaches out on social media with a technical issue related to your product. In this scenario, it should be easy for your social media team to reach out for technical assistance within the other department, and get a response crafted quickly.
To ensure this, you need to agree on a standardized process for the flow of information. That makes our next step even more important!
3. Bring all your social communication to one platform
If you have a presence on multiple social media platforms, you’re responsible for managing conversations on all of them.
Now juggling between platforms, switching from one interface to another for replying to messages can be messy. But more importantly, you’ll end up missing out on a lot of messages or not being able to reply to them in a timely manner.
That’s why the very next thing you need to do is get all your social communication onto one dashboard.
With a social listening tool like Radarr, you can consolidate all your communication into a single dashboard. Instead of having to jump from Facebook to Twitter, to Instagram, and so on, you get a holistic view of all the conversations in one place; enabling you to reply to them from within the dashboard.
Imagine not having to ‘open a link in a new tab’ or keep switching platforms to just respond to a comment!
4. Create a few ready-to-use replies
Crafting unique responses to comments and mentions is part of the personalized experience you want to offer. While for some organizations, it may make sense to reply to on-the-go replies, doing this at scale for some, might get difficult.
It’s a good idea to create a few ready-to-use templates for frequently asked questions. These are comments and mentions around things that have a standardized response and do not require personalizing.
For example, if there’s a comment around your exchange policy, it is going to be the same for everyone.
Similarly, if there are certain things that you’d want to respond to through direct messages instead of a long trail of comments, having a templatized “Hey, please provide us with some information regarding your order through DM, and we will get back to you right away!” can be a life-saver.
This is also important for things that may require approvals before being sent out. A templatized message bank is basically a collection of pre-approved responses in the tone of voice you want to follow consistently.
Here’s an example of the same:
PS. That does not mean you don’t add in a bit of personalization to your responses. Brands that leverage both templates and add a hint of personalization are the ones to win hearts!
5. Guide customers to the right channel
Different customer segments will reach out to you in different ways, and on different platforms.
If you have a channel set up specifically for offering support, you need to tell your audience and customers about it.
So that instead of them reaching out to you on Facebook through comments, you can actually get them to tweet to you instead of a profile that is exclusively created for offering customer support and service.
You can include this information in your regular communication like emails too so that it gets reinforced.
Here are some brands that have established separate support profiles:
6. Leverage chatbots to bring efficiency
Similar to templatization, certain things can be responded to with the help of automation and chatbots.
Identify comments that are repetitive, categorize them and create templated responses for the same. Then leveraging chatbots, respond to those queries ‘instantly’ without taking away time from those conversations that require a more personal approach.
7. Understand the sentiment behind conversations
Social media response isn’t just about replying to a comment or mentioning in a timely manner with the right answer. It should also take into account what someone ‘feels’ when they posted a specific comment so that you can respond in a language that appeals to their sentiment.
For example, if a customer just shared their WOW moment and is ecstatic about it, your response should be equally positive and happy.
But when a customer shares a neutral sentiment, you should be able to detect the same and reach out with a response that exudes empathy and understanding, and shows you want to really help them out.
8. Ensure you’re monitoring tagged and untagged mentions
No two customers are the same.
While someone may tag you to get a response, the other might just mention you in a passing statement they make in a caption. Both these segments of customers are important and expect the same social media response time from you.
This is where having a social listening tool like Radarr helps up your social media response rate. It helps you track brand mentions across the entire digital landscape, bringing conversations onto one dashboard to help you respond to them in a timely manner. It takes into account mentions in social media posts, online forums and communities, publishing sites, and more so that you don’t miss a beat!
9. Set benchmarks and performance KPIs
Just like your marketing strategy, you need to continually improve your social media response strategy.
The only way you can do this is by setting clear benchmarks, objectives and performance indicators for your team.
You need to keep a close watch on social metrics like the number of messages, comments and mentions received, the number of them responded to, your reply rate and your average response time in minutes.
Taking into account your resolution rate for negative remarks can also be helpful!
The goal is to let your team analyze their performance, identify loopholes and opportunities, and get better at social media responses.
How fast does your social media response time need to be?
In times when things move really fast and trends change every minute, your social media response time needs to be as quick.
While there is no set one-size-fits-all social media response time for businesses, it was found that ‘instant responses’ are the most preferred and tend to leave a more positive impression on the customers. After which comes responses that took a few minutes or hours, followed by 24 hours; but every hour added also saw a drop in the positivity a consumer attached to the business.
So the faster you respond to your audience, the better!
Want to see how you can improve your social media response time?
Here is the complete guide to Instagram social listening.