Social media has opened up a new world for companies. Now, you have the power to connect with your customers in real time. You can see what users are thinking, feeling, doing, and saying at any given moment and, accordingly, alter the messages and actions of your company.

However, social media platforms have their consequences. Since you can read users' posts in real time, users will demand that you also respond in real time. That means, there's no longer time for crisis communications and public relations teams to meet up, discuss options, and cultivate a well-worded response to related issues. You have to think on the spot and use your gut to respond as soon as possible or risk users coming to their own negative conclusions.

79% of customers expect a response to their social media posts within 24 hours. But, even though 63% of social media complaints are responded to within 24 hours, only 32% of people are happy with their response time. And, while 39% of social media users expect a response within 60 minutes, the average response time for businesses is about five hours.

For most companies, there are severe negative repercussions for a lack of response to social media posts and comments especially, when those posts or comments are bashing a company. When a company tries to ignore the comment, that gives all the power to the user. By responding, you maintain the power in the situation and can ease the minds of other easily-influenced consumers.

That being said, you still want to take enough time to craft an appropriate response. Responding within minutes and realizing you made a mistake isn't effective either. It can be difficult to find a balance between taking a necessary amount of time to respond and not leaving users in the dark for too long. Thus, use the following list to keep track of the appropriate response times on each platform.

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Customer Expectations for Social Media Response Time

1. Facebook

One study found that the average response time for companies on Facebook is one hour and 56 minutes. While most customers want a response within 30 minutes, only 50% of businesses are meeting this expectation.

Facebook is typically viewed as a more thoughtful platform. Posts are less frequent from users and posted with greater intent. Companies have a longer time frame within which they must respond to users on Facebook. That still means companies need to respond to complaints, especially on Facebook -- 71% of all social media complaints are posted on Facebook.

Facebook-complaints

Image Source

Facebook also has a feature that tells users how responsive your company is to messages from users. Your response rate is the percentage of messages that your company has responded to, while your response time is an estimated timeframe of how long it takes you to respond to messages.

If your average response time is less than five minutes for the past seven days, Facebook will put a badge on your page that reads "Very responsive to messages." This is a sure sign to users that they can trust your brand to prioritize reactive support to customers.

2. Twitter

The average response time for companies on Twitter is 33 minutes and 44 seconds. But, similar to Facebook, customers expect a response within 30 minutes and only 50% of businesses are meeting that standard.

Twitter is a very immediate platform. Since Twitter is typically viewed as more informal than Facebook, users expect you to check tweets and reply to them much faster. Once you get a conversation going, don't be surprised if it ends with a series of back-and-forth tweets.

However, on the flip side, your responses to Twitter may not have to be as elaborate as those to Facebook posts. And, since only 17% of social media complaints are posted on Twitter, you probably won't be sorting through negative comments on Twitter as frequently as on Facebook.

3. Live Chat

79% of customers prefer live chat over email or social media due to its immediacy. Companies can speak to up to 6 customers at once, in a matter of minutes.

However, it should take less than 48 seconds for companies to respond to a live chat request. After all, the easier it is to respond to a customer, the faster they'll expect that response.

What's great about live chat is that it's innately private. So, by responding within 48 seconds, you can ensure that you offer a solution without having to worry about your customer ranting about your brand in a public forum.

The three platforms above are arguably the most popular social media sites to engage businesses. But, that doesn't make them the only ones that customers are using to contact your company.

The charts below show us some more expectations for customer service response times on different social media platforms.

Instagram-response-times

Data Source: Lucid

LinkedIn-response-times

Data Source: LucidWhatsApp-response-times

Data Source: Lucid

WeChat-Response-times

Data Source: Lucid

Overall, it's evident that your customers expect a lot from you on social media. However, keeping in mind the above expectations, you can ensure that you always maintain a strong balance between thoughtful planning and rapid response.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

customer service metrics

 Customer Service Metrics

Originally published Mar 16, 2021 5:00:00 PM, updated March 17 2021

Topics:

Social Media Customer Service