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Social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to build brand awareness and drive product sales. The smartest companies out there today work hard to provide superior customer service on social media, but are they successful? The jury seems to be out on this. Customers expect a very fast response when they ask a question on Twitter or Facebook, and surveys have found they expect an answer within 30 minutes in some cases. So what are the true facts as to what is actually taking place?

Polls have shown that 80% of companies that have social media pages believe they provide customer service above and beyond what the customers want. However, the customers beg to differ. Only 8% of social media customers agree they get superior customer service. That means a whopping 92% are not happy with the customer service they are receiving.

Today, social engagement sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, and others are growing a rate 9 times faster than Twitter and Facebook, as these social media giants may have reached a saturation point. Today, companies are doing a poor job of keeping up with these sites, and only 20% of customer messages that require a response or attention get one from companies.

For those companies who do answer questions from customers via a social media page, how quickly the respond varies. Facebook questions from customers were answered in an average time of about 15 hours, while questions on Twitter were answered in an average time of under 8 hours.

This is rather slow compared to customer expectations as 83% Facebook users and 71% of Twitter users expect an answer on the day the question is posed. Many social media users are even less patient. Surveys have shown that 42% of Facebook users expect an answer within an hour, while 32% of Twitter users expect a response in as little as 30 minutes.

Companies who use social media are clearly missing out on opportunities as 56% of people who interact with a brand feel a personal connection with it. 50% are more likely to purchase from a brand or product that they can contact via social media. 71% of social media users who get a rapid response from a brand are likely to tell a friend about their positive experience, and recommend them.

A new commitment to social media must become a focus for companies who are serious about keeping its customers happy.