The results of a study here in Sweden by Viasat and SIFO reveal that every other Swede who uses social media like Twitter, Google+ and Facebook follows a business. The figure is even higher for Swedes who follow a business on Facebook with them on average liking four companies.
Despite these striking figures, less than half of the Swedes surveyed know that you can get customer service through social media, and instead see a company website as the main channel for getting customer support.
This still reveals though that 50 percent DO know that social media is a route to content businesses for customer service.The SIFO survey goes onto show that one in four Swedes (24%) have been in contact with a business via social media with the largest group contacting companies via social media were Swedes between the ages of 30-49 year.
“Undertaking such a study is useful for us at Viasat,” says Karin Zingmark, Media Relations Manager at Viasat Sweden. “Corporate social media is still a relatively new phenomenon, and while we meet clients and others on Facebook, Twitter and in various forums we strive to listen to how the response is received. We're learning things every day.”
What this Could Mean for You
Clearly with Swedes “getting” social media, and in particular the way in which the customer can interact with a company, it's likely that it's going to be increasingly important for businesses where there is a strong adoption of smartphones, as a considerable amount of social media usage is on mobile platforms.
Small to medium-sized businesses may also be stretched to develop and cover a cogent social presence.
Perhaps integrating social with email might be one way to make it easier to monitor and respond to social communication. Over Christmas I played a bit with Sparrow, a Mac email client, and I could see the potential value of tying social in with more traditional digital communication.
Perhaps the next generation of Mac Mail or Outlook will allow you to tweet directly, providing short and snappy social customer service.
Of course, the big problem for small businesses is going to be noise: it takes considerable resources to filter and respond to social messages across multiple platforms. Juggling email and social media is already a hassle. It could be about to get worse.
Where do you see social media going for businesses in 2012?