Joe Meloni

As part of a study analyzing the changing nature of customer service, American Express found that 47 percent of consumers who use social media to interact with businesses do so to share an experience, positive or negative, with their extended networks. While most consumers do not turn to Facebook, Twitter or other networks for customer service, those who do are increasingly influential.

Half of respondents said they use social to receive assistance to a problem they’re experiencing with a product or service. Marketers should take this as a cue to develop strategies to ensure feedback is addressed as this can help improve a brand’s visibility and reputation on the web.

Other motivations consumers have for turning to social include expressing frustration (46 percent), soliciting the opinions of others (43 percent) or to directly praising a company for a positive experience (33 percent). According to the report, companies in the services industry are more likely to see their prospects share feedback

Brands that respond quickly and with viable solutions improve their reputations among followers 60 percent of the time. However, haphazard strategies that don’t actually solve problems for consumers are likely to worsen a perception of a businesses, as 7 percent of respondents think less of the brand after social exposure.

Aside from directly engaging with consumers, Brafton recently highlighted a report from Market Force that found companies have seen multiple benefits of an effective social presence. Forty-two percent of respondents said social media marketing has helped their businesses identify different areas they should focus on with their products and services or new markets to target.