Sometimes, A Simple (Social Media) Reply Is All It Takes

Filed in Featured, Social Media by Matt McGee on October 27, 2011 9 Comments

conversationsI think sometimes we make social media marketing too complicated. We have to promote our products on Twitter. What’s our Klout score? We need to get people to interact with us on Facebook. What’s EdgeRank all about? And so on….

But sometimes it’s a lot simpler than that. Sometimes, all it takes to win people over is being available and replying to customers when they say something to you. A recent study brings this point home, I think.

In September, Maritz Research and evolve24 surveyed about 1,300 U.S. adults who had identified themselves as 1) frequent Twitter users who had 2) used Twitter to complain about a company they’ve done business with and 3) are at least 18 years old.

Of the 1,300, only 29% said the company contacted them after the complaint tweet. But look how that 29% felt about being contacted.


Only 4% said they didn’t like it. More than 83% liked or loved being contacted after their complaint. If I told you there was an easy way to put a smile on the faces of 83% of customers who were previously unhappy, you’d do it, right?

One other thing: If your customer base skews older, you darn well better listen when they talk to you on Twitter. From the same study, look at the expectations people have about being heard and how those expectations increase with each age group.


My point: Don’t make Twitter or Facebook (or insert the social networking sites you use as a business owner) any more complicated than they need to be. Be present where your customers are and be ready to reply when they have something to say to you — good or bad. If you can do more and do it well — go for it. But it’s okay to just use social media as a customer service post.

You can download an executive summary of the Maritz/evolve24 poll on their website.

Comments (9)

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  1. Matt Siltala says:

    Just had this very thing happen on one of our other product sites. The person that was having “issues” was surprised to find out we actually monitored it .. she apologized for posting something negative (ended up taking it down later) all because we listened and helped her out (ended up being shipping and something we had no control over). Very simple … use it to listen to customers, but make sure and be there when the customer actually use it.

  2. Will Scott says:

    I find it really interesting that age skews the expectation *toward* “will read your tweet”.

    In all though I think this supports the comScore, 15miles data which suggested 69% of consumers are more likely to buy when brands are present in Social.

    I also think that percentage which said “It didn’t matter” in the above may be overloading their response given their negative feelings about the brand.


  3. Matt McGee says:

    I also thought of that stat, Will – good call. Shows that people at least want to know you exist on social channels and can be reached.

  4. AJ Wilcox says:

    I totally agree with your conclusion, Matt. I’ve complained over social media with varying responsiveness. When a company doesn’t respond, it makes me want to keep complaining until they notice. When they respond and I see they do care what I think, then I quit complaining.

  5. Kris says:

    I used to get a lot of angry customer calls when working for big tech company managing a product. I used a strategy used by suicide prevention hotlines. I called it ‘preventing customer suicide’, which was a way for me to get distance and not have to be right/better/superior/etc. Listen, acknowledge the pain, respond with care. Even when no was the answer to the request (freebees mostly), customers were satisfied.
    It seems these technologies are often used as customer avoidance strategies rather than improving communication, a la the hated automated phone systems (at least I hate them).

  6. Maciej Fita says:

    I think people just like to feel acknowledged sometimes. Something about an organization taking time out of their day to let you know they noticed you feels great.

  7. Casie G says:

    I know that when I complain via social I 100% expect to be addressed and love it when a company does.

    I also agree with Matt S as we’ve had people take their comments down immediately after we responded. We’ve all been frustrated and said things we probably didn’t mean…with the internet, it’s just written down and in front of a lot more people. Once you calm down and realize the company is helping you, you sort of feel silly (or at least I do).

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