Big Brands Ignoring 97% of Social Media Activity

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Smart businesses invest a lot of time (and money) into offering great customer service. They’ll hire professional agencies to conduct satisfaction surveys, offer discounts to consumers who give feedback, and even establish 24/7  call centers. But despite all of these efforts, most of them aren’t paying attention to the places that their customers are actually chatting the most these days: social networks.

twitter customer service

A recent study commissioned by Conversocial found that brands aren’t reading up to 97% of Twitter comments about them. They studied 11,000+ tweets made about retailers Costco, Kroger, Safeway, and Walmart in a 24  hour period, only to find that the majority weren’t read or responded to.

Important note: Of the 11,000 tweets analyzed, only 3% contained the “@” symbol that allows Twitter users to know someone has mentioned them. That means most people simply wrote the store’s name in regular text, in which case 97% of the tweets likely went unnoticed by businesses.

So what does this boil down to? Unhappy customers — a lot of them.

Walmart alone had over 5,000 unanswered questions on its Facebook page before Christmas. Worse yet, Costco didn’t even respond to someone who found a piece of wood in their recently purchased muffin.

Why are so many companies dropping the ball when it comes to online customer service? Well, it’s not easy to do. Hearing everything consumers are saying is challenging, especially when there’s so much chatter, and responding can be fairly labor intensive.

To be able to understand what consumers are saying on social media (and not just the 3% using the “@” symbol), businesses require the right tools for social customer service. They need to be able to:

  • Monitor the major social networks and other networks that their customers are using
  • Set up custom searches for common business names, product lines, and specific accounts
  • Track conversation history with customers and keep a log of every interaction

If you’re still on the fence about conducting customer service through social, ask yourself this: would you ignore a customer’s phone calls or email messages? Probably not. Facebook and Twitter are the new support hubs, and unlike your previous call center, if someone has a bad experience you can be sure others will know about it immediately.

Keep your customers happy by listening, engaging, and responding — remember, you can’t afford not to.


Social Marketing, a new software tool from VendAsta, puts an emphasis on providing customer support to multiple social networks. It takes the guesswork out of knowing who’s been helped and whether or not they were satisfied, and translates into higher engagement with happier customers.

Nykea Marie Behiel

Nykea is the Director of Content at Vendasta, where she heads up our content marketing team and inbound marketing initiatives.