When most people think of social media for business, the immediate thought is of its power as a marketing tool to reach an unlimited audience at a fraction of traditional marketing mediums’ cost. While this has some merit, it views the social media channel through a very narrow lens.

This wildly popular view of social media chooses to lock in on the “media” portion, and how it can be used as a form of mass communication. This typical thought process is centered around how the medium can be used to broadcast a message, or be used as a billboard for people to find the brand’s message organically.

This is a short-sighted approach that undervalues the potential of social media as it ignores the most important aspect, which is the “social” portion of the equation. Social means interaction with other people.

The people in your prospective audience online aren’t on Facebook or Twitter to seek out your sale announcements or latest blog. They are on social media to connect and converse with other people.

Your customers are on social media so it makes sense for you to be there. And when your company or brand is on social media, your audience expects your account to interact as a human. This means responding to and conversing with people who engage with your accounts. On social media, you’re going to get messages from customers who are experiencing issues with your product or service and they expect a response that helps them reach resolution without directing them to a different service channel.

On social media, you’re going to get messages from customers who are experiencing issues with your product or service and they expect a response that helps them reach resolution without directing them to a different service channel.

There are many benefits to incorporating customer care in your social media strategy.

First and foremost, customers who engage with companies on social media are more loyal and spend up to 40% more on the company’s products and services. This makes social media a direct positive impact on the bottom line of companies who engage with customers online.

On the other side of the coin, choosing to ignore incoming social media contacts can have a detrimental effect. Gartner has found that companies who do not respond to incoming social media comments have experienced a 15% increase in customer churn.

One important thing to keep in mind is that customers expect real-time responses from your social media team.

One of the biggest customer complaints about social media is brand unresponsiveness. If you were calling into a customer service call center, an 18 hour response time would be unacceptable.

While social media gives you slightly more leeway than “instantaneous,” 42% of customers expect a response within the hour. Since social media is never closed, this means your customer service on social media shouldn’t be a part-time program.

There are many all-in-one social media platforms on the market that can help facilitate customer service in-house but still require additional investments in workforce resources. SocialPath Solutions can help alleviate those concerns by providing a turn-key solution with our hosted social media customer care teams. We leverage our own technology and social media expertise, making it easy for your company to create a fantastic social media care experience for your customers.