According to a new report by the Socialbakers only 5% of posts on brand pages on Facebook ever get answered. 95% of the posts are left unanswered. The biggest culprits are FMCG and Media companies.
The best respondents turn out to be Airlines and Telecommunications. Obviously these are part of the services industry and rely on their customer service as a differentiator. For more on the article please click here.
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Why is this happening? Why are brands afraid to engage their customers on a social platform like Facebook?
I did some analysis and figured out there are three common reasons why this happens.
1. Loss of control
Brands and brand leaders are very conscious of control. They want to control their brand image and what is being said about them. Social Media on the other hand is the loss of control. Once they respond, it is very uncertain how their response be interpreted, hence they feel it is better off to be unresponsive.
2. Lack of Social Media guidelines
Often brands end up on Facebook or other social media sites without having planned the roadmap or guidelines. They often see others (read competitors) on such platforms and they jump into the bandwagon themselves. This creates confusion as not all the brand leaders want to respond or engage, in the discussion.
3. Lack of training
Most brand leaders are trained in the traditional marketing methods. They often lack the training of how to engage in the social media world. A common fallacy is to let the discussion continue among prospects without any contribution from the brand.
I personally feel by not participating, the brands lose a very valuable tool to engage their customers. There is a lot of clutter in the market place and social platforms help brands to communicate directly and cut out the noise. But unresponsiveness could be mistaken for brand arrogance and hence a loss of brand equity. I feel if they intend to just not communicate it is better to take down the page and comeback later when their social media maturity quotient increases.
But without the maturity and a road map, this could have bad consequences and hence most brands take the safe route of not responding at all.
As I researched for this piece I found some interesting discussions on Virgin Atlantic page on Facebook. This included a question of a famous celebrity dead or alive that Virgin customers would want to find themselves seated with on a Virgin flight. To engage or not to engage that is the ultimate question, and this has to be answered sooner than later.
Your thoughts are welcome!