Could social care be the biggest social media growth opportunity for the future? It appears that way.
J.D. Powers recently released findings from their 2013 Social Media Benchmark Study confirming that an overwhelming number of consumers expect social care from brands and businesses. Digital media is no longer a novelty for customer service, it’s an expectation.
Different data, same conclusion
What is social care? NM Incite defines it like this:
“Social care is a system for companies to regularly provide customer service through social media platforms. Companies listen at the brand and category levels for customer questions, issues, needs and concerns, and address them through the social channels where existing and prospective customers express themselves.”
These were the key findings from the J.D. Powers study:
- 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media site for servicing, compared with 33% for social marketing.
- Younger consumers (18-29 years old) are more likely to use brands’ social media sites for servicing interactions (43%) than for marketing (23%).
- The automotive industry balances marketing and servicing engagements better than any other industry included in the study.
- Consumer expectations for social interactions vary across industries, although quality content and responsive service representatives are keys to higher satisfaction levels.
For the purposes of the study, “social marketing” appears to be promotion and “social servicing” appears analogous to social care. NM Incite did a similar study last year concluding that nearly 50% of social media users used social care, with expectations notably higher with the younger cohort. Despite the difference between the specific data of each study, the trend is clear: an increasing number of people want social care from the companies that they patronize.
Houston, we have a problem (and it has to do with resource management)
The most concerning thing for companies in the future will be where social care is performed. The top five social media sites according to Pew are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Yet, the #5 network in usage (Tumblr) is the #1 with young adults. Different racial and ethnic communities have proclivities toward specific social sites. Google Plus has momentum and informs search. Pheed is the #1 free mobile app for iOS. Failing to monitor the least of these sites is to forsake tens of millions of people. Generation Z is purported to be the most disruptive generation ever so far as their online proclivities.
The takeaway? Businesses should understand the necessity to have a solution that manages inbound content from different social channels. You have to receive each message before you can respond to it, and trying to do it organically is quite unrealistic.
What do you think? What is the future for social care? What software has been particularly useful for your “social listening” and “social care?”