Customers Say Small Business Social Media Efforts Failing: Survey Says

Do you think communicating with customers via social media is a fad? Well, customers don't. In a new study commissioned by Conversocial and conducted by assistant professor of communications Liel Leibovitz at New York University, the majority (50.7 percent) of consumers say they currently use social media to communicate with businesses. What's more, 78 percent believe that social media platforms will either soon entirely replace other means of customer service, or become the dominant way for consumers to communicate with businesses.

The bad news is, customers aren't getting what they want from these interactions. Just 8 percent report being satisfied or very satisfied with businesses' responsiveness on social media. Almost one-third say their complaints or messages had been ignored by companies. And a whopping 88 percent say if they see that their or other customers' complaints on social media are ignored, they'd be less likely to buy from those companies in the future.

Why it matters to your business: Having a social media presence does your company no good if you're not active. A Facebook page or Twitter account filled with unanswered questions, complaints or concerns does the opposite of what you intend: It shows prospects that you really don't care about customers' problems. If you're going to get involved in social media (and by all means you should), don't bite off more than you can chew. Start slowly enough that you can actually be responsive and develop relationships. That's what social media is all about.