Social media is the ideal platform for businesses as it allows them not only to share original content to a much wider audience than previously possible but also provides instant access to a significant source of feedback and insight.
These channels allow for two-way broadcasts and the firms who utilise them in the best manner actively engage in conversations with the users. This drives brand loyalty and can be the difference between securing and losing a sale.
However, businesses also need to be aware of what happens when things, unfortunately, go wrong.
If a customer has an issue with a product or service they have purchased from you, it is increasingly likely that the first thing they will do is to head to Facebook or Twitter and vent their frustrations.
Whether this is directly to your businessâ€™ presence, or more vaguely to their own pool of friends or followers, it can have a damaging impact on your reputation. Social media takes word-of-mouth feedback and recommendations to the next level, particularly on Twitter, where users post an average total of more than 500 million tweets per day.
This is just one of the statistics provided in an infographic published by Fanhub, which shows how social media channels are completely altering the customer relationship management experience.
It highlights the fact more than three-fifths of people using these websites choose to interact with brands and it suggests they are becoming more and more demanding in their expectations.
The very nature of social media is centred on rapid communications and a quarter of Facebook and Twitter users expect a response to any complaints issued on these sites within one hour, while 66 per cent believe businesses should reply to enquiries on the same day.
However, this is not to say businesses should use these channels exclusively to deal with complaints or issues. Indeed, users expect interactions with brands to largely focus on their marketing efforts, with 62 per cent on the look out for product news and information, while 32 per cent like to be made aware of promotions.