Brands ignore customers' social questions too often

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Eighty-eight percent of social messages to brands go unanswered for 72 hours.

Despite the obvious advantages of social media and customer experience, seven in eight social messages — about 88% — to brands go unanswered for 72 hours. In fact, many brands refuse to waver in their refusal to implement an extensive social communication strategy. This, of course, can lead to unhappy customers and a drop in loyalty.

The "2015 Sprout Social Index" report shows that the trend has allowed a few brands — including ones based in the Middle East and Europe — to gain a competitive advantage. The report — which analyzed brands across 15 industries — also shows that the number of social messages sent to brands increased by 21% in the first two quarters of 2015, though nearly 90% failed to elicit a response.

According to the report, brands have an imbalanced social strategy — consisting of four times as many posts as replies. The report says that, among the industries analyzed, retail and utilities brands are closing the gap between posts and replies, whereas media/entertainment and real estate struggle to find a balance.

Additional findings include:

  • The media/entertainment industry responds to roughly one in 12 messages — or about 8% — and sends nearly 8.5 times more posts than replies.
  • Utilities brands send 1.4 times more posts than replies.
  • Retail sends two times more posts than replies.
  • Real estate sends 11.7 times more posts than replies.
  • Brands in Asia receive more than 3 times as many messages as brands in Europe, Africa and North America.
  • The Middle East has the best response rate — 13.1% — while Europe has the fastest response time at 10.5 hours.
  • Response times have increased by 4%.
  • Response rates have decreased by 2.5%.

"Never before has a brand's responsibility to be responsive and engaged been so critical," said Justyn Howard, CEO of Sprout Social, in a recent release. "As open communication with brands shapes a new wave of interaction, the need for social teams to be active and authentic day in and day out matters more than ever. Our mission with The Sprout Social Index remains focused on analyzing social data to draw out trends and pinpoint actionable insights that will equip brands to create stronger, longer-lasting customer relationships."

This article first appeared on


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