Tracking U.S. consumer expectations on social media

Retailers should consider a recent Facebook U.K. poll when determining their social media strategies, as it was found that 33 percent of users go directly to a company's Facebook page after viewing a friend's recommendation for the business, Conversocial reports.

Retailers should consider a recent Facebook U.K. poll when determining their social media strategies, as it was found that 33 percent of users go directly to a company's Facebook page after viewing a friend's recommendation for the business, Conversocial reports.

Furthermore, 46 percent of users sought out news and product information after they became a fan, and 23 percent cited the need for customer service help and expert advice.

This proves that customers aren't simply using social media for deals or to click on ads anymore. They prefer to know that there's an actual human on the other side of the company's Facebook page, reading complaints, answering questions and responding to inquiries.

Additional findings include the fact that more people (44 percent) are finding new products through Facebook's newsfeed than they are through search engines (29 percent), or the brand's website (16 percent).

This is likely to increase going forward, as Facebook plans to launch its Sponsored Stories initiative which will place branded ads in user's newsfeeds if they like a company or make a comment on its fan page.

In addition, researchers found that men are two times more likely to complain about a negative customer service experience on social media platforms than women, while users from a younger demographic are 19 percent more likely to research a company they're fans of than any other age group.

A similar Conversocial study touched on the importance of remaining active within the customer service space on social media to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Specifically, more than 50 percent of respondents stated they use social media to communicate with businesses. However, if their questions are consistently ignored, more than 88 percent said they'd be less likely or far less likely to buy from that brand in the future, while 27 percent would stop doing business with the company altogether.

"The message to companies from their customers is now clear: if you want to speak to us in social media, you better be prepared for us to speak back", said Josh March, CEO of Conversocial. "If your company is on Facebook or Twitter, be prepared to treat these social networks as serious customer service channels. If not, you risk losing not just your current customers communicating with you via posts and tweets, but the vast number of potential customers who now have a window to see how you respond to (or ignore) your customers in full public view."