Social Media Monitoring: Not Responding in Real-Time Costs Brands, Big Time

By BKV in Social Media on November 11th, 2014

How much are brands really taking advantage of social media platforms, like Twitter? Are they listening for opportunities to satisfy current customers, or to attract potential clients and drive sales? Last year, we performed a study to answer these questions, asking our employees to tweet at different brands expressing interest in a product or service, and measured the percentage of brands that were using social listening to drive leads and revenue. 

social media marketing real time listening for twitter

Now that a year has passed, we were curious to see if more brands were actively leveraging listening, so we conducted a follow up study to capture YOY changes and trends.

Study Methodology

This year, we reached out to 49 major brands, many of which were included last year in the initial study. The methodology was the same:  participants picked a brand, tweeted to the brand with a comment that indicated an interest in a product/service, recorded the time and response, and scored the brand based on how satisfied they were with the response. We sent out over 100 tweets that asked a question indicating purchase consideration. The first tweet included the brand’s name and generic hashtags, but did not directly tag a brand with an @mention. The second tweet sent out by our participants directly tagged the brand’s Twitter handle, such as @BKVadvertising, in the copy.

 Sample 1st Tweet:

Sample 2nd Tweet:


The Results

Out of the 49 brands, only 16 brands (33%) responded to either an organic or @mention tweet in our study. 12 brands responded to a tweet that included their Twitter handle, and only 4 brands responded to the organic mention of their organization. While our organic mention response results saw a slight increase (+1 brand response), when compared to our results from the previous study, we saw an overall decrease in the percentage of total responses YOY (44% vs. 33%). This clearly indicates an opportunity for many brands to improve their efforts with social media listening!social media marketing organic response, @ mention response, & no response Time was an important factor in our study too. Our participants tracked responses and reported the time lapse between their initial tweets and brands' responses. For organic mentions, we saw a better average response rate of just 3 hours this year, compared to last year’s average of over 24 hours. The average response rate for an @mention tweet slowed this year, however, with brands taking approximately 5 hours compared to 18 minutes in the 2013 study. Time is of the essence when it comes to capturing a customer during their time of consideration, as a brand could easily miss a sale by waiting 5 hours to respond to a potential customer.

Lastly, not all brands who responded, responded equally. Some brands responded to questions, but failed to put in much effort for making a sale, while others were so focused on selling that they lost sight of what the participant was asking. Brands who sent links to their website to view products or deals and acted genuinely interested in helping were the clear winners.


Although Holiday Inn seemed genuinely interested in our user’s vacation, they failed to include a link in their response for easy access to their website.


Here are our key takeaways for improving your listening strategy on Twitter in order to drive more leads and sales:

  • Always monitor or “listen” for your brand name on Twitter, and look for a chance to interact with a user who might be considering making a purchase.
  • Respond to these tweets in a timely manner.
  • Pay attention to the question, provide helpful information or link to pages on the brand website that might help the user make a decision about a purchase.
  • Be social! Say something like “we’d love to help you” or “let us know if you have any other questions” when responding. Ask follow-up questions to find out more about the product that they are thinking about buying.
  • If a conversation is better suited for a Twitter direct message (DM) or through email, ask to continue the conversation there.

Our Social Media Marketing team can help you develop a successful listening strategy and measure the success of your efforts with advanced data and analytics.

Wondering how your brand can leverage social media listening to drive sales or leads? Contact our experts today!