Can social become a channel consumers can trust?

Research has shown that social media is currently the quickest and most reliable way a consumer can get in contact with a brand. Is the public nature of social building trust in consumers? 

Mindi Chahal

The study by eDigitalResearch shows that around 80 per cent of those who recently contacted a brand through social media platforms heard back from the company within 12 hours. This contrasts to 37 per cent who heard back in the same time frame when contacting via email. 

Social media is currently the only customer contact channel that guarantees a response from a brand according to the research, which surveyed 2,000 consumers. Of those who use social media to get in touch with a company, all of them received a response to their post, comment or tweet.

In answer to my question above, yes the public nature of those comments probably has a lot to do with brands responding so quickly to requests via social media but this isn’t necessarily a negative, especially in terms of the market knowledge a brand could gain. 

If brands can keep up that level of service by responding to queries the more confidence you build with those consumers and in turn the more insight you get by looking a the demographic of those who contact you and the nature of their enquiry.     

On the topic of trusting social the recent news that Asda is looking to add real social media posts from customers about its Chosen By You branded products on packaging and point of sale where the items sit.

Why wouldn’t a brand want to bring consumer opinion into the store to create a greater sense of authenticity. It certainly contrast to some marketing tactics that use consumer stats and opinions, in the ‘9 out of 10 women would recommend this product’ style.   

Shoppers trust other shoppers and while some might not care about what Sally from Solihull thinks about Asda’s cupcakes it’s a step in the right direction in bringing some consumer insight to the store experience. 

Eventually social media will be utilised and trusted by brands and consumers to a greater extent than they currently do and it could become a valuable tool in insight and research. 

It gives the consumer a platform to contact the brand and a place to air their views in an authentic way that suits them and it gives brands a platform to respond and take note of positive and negative responses. It’s a different point of view in contrast to online surveys or focus groups where people may lie or just say what they think the interviewer wants to hear. 

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