Are customers more likely to shame or praise brands on social media?

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Graham Ede
Yonder Digital Group
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With its ability to give normal people access to an audience of thousands, social media has become an increasing concern for businesses of all sizes. Some are actively trying to harness it to help them reach out to more customers and prospects, others are more worried about ensuring they don’t get mixed up in any social media ‘rows’ which for their very nature tend to become very public, very quickly.

Given that 92% of consumers trust peer reviews, while only 14% trust advertising  (according to Vendasta data), it would seem that management are correct in placing such high importance on keeping their social media reputations prim. But how much of this focus is limited to being a PR headache, and how much is actually down to providing excellent customer service? In short, is the perception that consumers are more likely to voice complaints than praise for a company founded?

Latest research commissioned by Yonder Digital Group analysed this perception and identified three key statistics to understanding the role of positive endorsement on social media and via word-of-mouth. 1,000 UK consumers were interviewed by independent research organisation MindMetre Research and the results highlight that:

1. 38% of consumers will post about a positive experience

Almost four out of ten UK consumers tend to post on social media about a good experience with a brand or business. This is contrasted with only 31% who post about negative experiences. The result also shows that consumer mentality has changed so much over the past decade that aspirational, positive images and comments are dominant over negative or critical ones. With almost 40% of Europeans on Facebook and 600 million active Instagrammers, it’s clear that businesses cannot afford to ignore the importance of social media as a channel and should be focusing on providing top-class customer experience that consumers are keen to talk about.

2. 88% of UK consumers tell their friend and family about positive brand experiences

This key statistic highlights how word-of-mouth and real-life, face-to-face interactions have not fallen out of fashion. In fact, a far greater proportion of people ‘tell’ friends and family about their good experiences (89%) than ‘post’ about them on social media (38%). Although shared with a smaller group of individuals, the endorsements of family and friends are highly commended as they are regarded as very personalised and relevant.

3. 84% of 18-24 year olds tell friends & family about positive brand experiences

Confirming the undisputed popularity of word-of-mouth endorsement, positive brand experiences are shared by all age groups very consistently. The most likely to use this form of communication are over 65s (92%), but even among the youngest age group it remains highly important.

Conclusion

So how can businesses encourage customers to loyally share, review and discuss the good-times had with a brand? Certainly, customer service is critical as a happy intervention by Joe at the call centre, or an excellent new product suggestion by Sally, are just the type of shout-outs that brands are hoping for and contribute to increasing the loyalty of both sharer and audience.

But delivering top-notch customer engagement is not easy without a clear, objective and rigorous approach to customer data analysis: understanding your customers is the only way to service them better. Good practice data handling and analysis will help businesses understand their customers therefore helping to serve them better, market to them more effectively and even produce better products.

In conclusion, brands need to ensure that they are providing customers with memorably positive experiences and making them feel that they are really going that extra mile. To do so they need to form a solid, data-based understanding of customer preferences, behaviour and channel choice. Truly positive experiences are the basis of the joyful (and sometimes boastful!) social media posts of consumers enjoying the brand’s products or services and broadcasting it to their circle of followers and acquaintances.

By enabling customers to talk about these positive experiences brands gain access to a valuable pool of consumers that share interests and aspirations with their customers and on the basis of this like-mindedness could turn out to be highly valuable prospects.

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