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Social media customer care research

Author's avatar By Robert Allen 22 Apr, 2016
Essential Essential topic

The social media from brands you see is only the tip of the iceberg. Over 90% of social is 1:1

A new report from Spredfast shows how massive the disparity is between how much content you see posted by brands on social media and the vast amount of 1:1 social media customer care they are constantly involved in.

They studied the fourth quarter activity and performance of 50 major brands for their 'state of social' study. One of the most interesting finding in the research is how much of big brand's social content is 1:1 interactions rather than broadcasting to the whole followership.

1:1 Vs 1: many

The research examined every tweet from top brands accounts and sub-accounts (e.g. @ebay and @AskEbay), a total of 1.3 million pieces of content. The results show quite how critical social customer care has become.

Overall, 93% of tweets in 2015 were not meant to be seen by the general public, but instead were 1:1 replies, generally about customer service related queries. What you see on social media from brands is merely the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority is never intended for everyone to see.

social meida iceberg

The trend is heading even further in the direction of 1:1 interactions making up the majority of social media posts by top brands. In Q1 of last year, it was 92% of tweets that were 1:1, whereas by Q4 that has increased to 95%. If that trend continues this year, we will see 97% of Tweets be 1:1 replies before the end of 2016!

2015 twitter replies growth

Which industries are leading the drive towards social customer care?

The research from spread fast found high ratios of 1:1 rather than 1: many across all industries, but there were big differences. For software brands, about 9/10 tweets were replies, whilst for Airlines the ratio was so high only about 1 in every fifty or more tweets went to everyone, the rest were social customer care.

social customer care by industry


You don't need me to tell you that social customer care is important. Any marketer worth his or her salt knows keeping customers happy is the key to maintaining a quality and brand and that word of mouth and online reviews are some of the most critically important channels for driving new business, across all industries. But this data really does help to ram home just how much time, money and effort the big brands are putting into 1:1 social touchpoints, and it is something you should consider when planning your social media strategy. I'm not saying your budget should be 98% spent on 1:1 and leave just 2% for 1 to many, but it may be that you need to review the budgets and time you allocate to 1:1 if it is currently relatively overlooked.

If you want more insights into the current state of social customer care, you can download the report from Spredfast.


Author's avatar

By Robert Allen

Rob Allen is Marketing Manager for Numiko, a digital agency that design and build websites for purpose driven organisations, such as the Science Museum Group, Cancer Research UK, University of London and the Electoral Commission. Rob was blog editor at Smart Insights from 2015-2017. You can follow Rob on LinkedIn.

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