As marketers, we all understand that it’s important to be present on social media. But, have you ever wondered what your customers expect from you when it comes to engaging with them on social media? Social Media Examiner recently uncovered several research findings that answer some questions you may be wondering.

1. Yes, Customers Expect You on Facebook

Hubspot asked 569 customers which social media channels they expects brands to be present on. In this report, “The Social Lifestyle: Consumer Insights to Improve Your Business,” consumers reported that they expected to see brands on 3 to 4 different social site; the most important one being Facebook and Twitter coming in second. While a majority of millennials and Gen X’ers expected all brands to have at least a presence on Facebook, only 50% of those polled expected for brands to have a presence on Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+.

2. Enriching Social Content

If consumers want brands to actively be on 3-4 different social sites, what content do they expect to be wowed with?

To answer this, LoudDoor’s Aug 2014 study, Top 20: Brands with the Most Loyal Fans on Facebook, can provide us with some insight on what makes fans so loyal to these brands.

Out of the 20 brands, many were found to have content such as daily deals, customer stories and photos, and holiday cookie recipes posted on their Pages. It was found that most consumers respond to content that relates to them. By tapping into customer needs and wants, instead of directly marketing products and services, brands were able to instill passion and brand advocacy from consumers.

3. Customer Support

Customers heavily rely on social media to get in touch directly with the brand or business. According to a report done by Parature, 35% of customers have asked a customer service question on social media. Of these respondents, 51% said they would see a brand in a “somewhat more” or “much more” favorable view. Hubspot also confirms the need for brands to use social media for establishing and fostering customer relationships. In that same study with 569 respondents, 50% reported complimenting a brand in the last 5 months, 35% complained about a brand, and 30% requested support. This shows how important it is to customers to be able to reach a brand to express satisfaction and seek support.

4. Prompt Responses

An Edison Research study found that customers expect not only a brand’s presence on social media, but a quick response if they do seek guidance or support. 42% expect a response in under an hour and 25% in the same day, and 9% in the next 5 minutes.

The Key Takeaway

Social media continues to be a powerful tool for brands and customers to communicate. While many brands may resist the presence due to fear of negative comments, most comments made from customers about a brand are positive. By being present, sharing relatable content, using social media as a customer service channel, and quickly responding to compliments or criticisms will only strengthen a brand and bring it more credibility in the long run.

It’s also important to note that many customers are seeking human connection on social media. Brands must focus on transparency and a genuine desire to build a relationship with customers. The most engaging social media posts aren’t direct sales posts or posts that seek to promote brands or services. Understand your customer and their needs, tell your story, and show how your brand can improve or relate to their life.