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.

80% of customers expect companies to respond to their social media posts within 24 hours. In fact, 50% of customers claim they would cease business with a company that fails to respond to a negative social media post. 62% of customers are influenced enough by negative social media comments on a brand that they would cease business with them.

Clearly, 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.

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

The average response time for companies on Facebook is one day, three hours, and 47 minutes. Yet, 85% of customers on Facebook expect a response from companies within six hours.

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 also has a feature that tells users how responsive your company is to Facebook 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.

The more messages you respond to and the less time it takes you to respond, the more likely it is that 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 one day, seven hours, and 12 minutes. Yet, 64% of customers on Twitter expect a response from companies within one hour.

Already, you can see the difference in expectations between social media platforms. 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.

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 will 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 the customer a solution without their ever having to rant about your brand in a public forum.

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.

For more information, read our list of social listening tools next.

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 Customer Service Metrics

Originally published Jan 18, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated May 18 2020


Social Media Customer Service