In Content Marketing, Please Respond and Engage When Customers Do So

content marketing facebookArticle first published as Why Aren't Companies Responding to Questions on Facebook? on Technorati.

A new survey of 20 top online retailers on Facebook that suggests their level of responsiveness to customers is uneven, at best. Conducted by STELLAService, a company that rates customer service among online businesses, found that one out of four companies failed to respond to a customer-service question posted on their Facebook wall, and even fewer replied to questions asked as comments on their posts. Appalling in a world where connectivity and social media has become second nature to so many consumers.

While 25 percent of retailers didn’t respond to wall posts, that number rocketed to 65 percent for comments on other posts. Eight companies deleted the questions that were posted on their walls, whether they answered the question or not. Of those that did respond to these posts, the average time was one hour (not bad). However, these numbers are shocking. Isn't this what companies want from social media: engagements, comments and questions? Why wouldn't a company respond? So many small businesses will kill for that kind of action, and these top online retailers are just ignoring it and throwing their social media success away.

And to delete the questions from the wall? I could understand doing that if they are profane or irrelevant, but besides that, deleting questions of fans and customers only indicates that you don't care. Especially since deleting them means that the company saw the post and still chose to ignore it. I don't see any benefit to deleting questions, whether they've been answered or not. Even if the company has no intention of answering them, leaving them up could at least give other fans a chance to answer the question. Deleting questions that have been answered also poses problems, as it means that a company could get a question asked multiple times, when leaving it up could be just as helpful for future visitors.

Jordy Leiser, STELLAService’s co-founder, said that the purpose of this quick study was to start setting expectations to marketing and customer service on social media, since there's still uncertainty about a time frame that's reasonable for these posts. It's common knowledge that both businesses and individuals shouldn't be ignoring and deleting comments and questions, unless they are offensive and profane. I also think that it's common knowledge that a day, at most, is the longest is should take a business to respond. Consumers expect businesses large and small to be monitoring their social media, and paying attention to what fans and customers are doing. It's too easy for them to find a competitor who will pay attention.

Social media is about being a part of a community. It shouldn't be considered one more avenue to push a marketing message and to generate sales. It's not another form of outbound or interruptive marketing that's to distract people. It's about pulling people in, listening to what's going on, and offering something that they are interested in. If people are interested, and you're not doing anything about it, then you're doing social media wrong.