Direct Messages is to Contact Form as Contact Form is to Phone Call

by Conor McDonough, Partner, Scribendi Digital Marketing

Market analysis is showing that more and more Millenials and GenZers are making first contact with brands via social media direct message. We’ve moved passed the major shift from phone calls to emails and contact form submissions all the way to Facebook messages and Twitter and Instagram DM’s.

CRM software producer Zendesk recently studied the wide-ranging adoption of messaging, which extends across all age demographics. Among those surveyed, Zendesk found that in 2020 almost 40% of millennials and Gen Xers used messaging (on social, text or embedded in an owned channel) for the very first time to connect with a brand. Just under 30% of the same age group used phone for the first time, which gives an idea of how conversations are growing across many channels old and new. Twenty percent of baby boomers and older were also getting on the bandwagon with messaging as first-time users.

Source.

What Does This Mean for You?

It is not enough to have someone answer the phones and respond to contact form inquiries anymore. These social media messages need to be responded to and they need to be responded to quickly! Measuring against email response time, which on average is 1.87 hourssocial media users expect to be responded to within 10-12 minutes (!) and that number is only going down. There is some data from Google that suggests that if a message is not responded to within 10 seconds a user will try a different company immediately.

What Can You Do?

  1. Train your existing staff. Dedicate a specific person to monitor social media messages and respond. They don’t have to have every answer to every question, but they should be able to direct the user to take the appropriate actions.
  2. Hire an answering service. Answering services are not just for off-hour phone calls anymore. They can be set up to respond to all in-coming messages, including social media messages.
  3. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have systems in place to automatically respond to messages. Set up a written message that says something along the lines of “Thank you for contacting us! We typically respond within 2-3 minutes during business hours. If you don’t hear from us right away please call us at (xxx) xxx-xxx or email us at X@company.com”
  4. Set up an AI Live Chat system on your website. You’ve seen them on plenty of websites and yours should have one. Most Live Chat systems can be set up to both email and text the users message directly to someone on staff. Be sure to clearly layout response hours and other contact methods.

Impact on Google’s Core Website Vitals

Google tracks everything. That includes your response time to messages. And not just messages through your Google My Business listing. Google tracks the load and response time of your website contact form. It tracks reviews of your customer service, including any information regarding your response time to social media messages. This all impacts your SEO ranking in Google’s new Website Core Vitals.

Google does not want to direct a user to your business if the numbers tell them that you won’t respond quickly enough to satisfy that user’s needs. It is that simple. 


It seems like we keep saying “The world is moving faster and faster.” But when we start to see numbers like “10 second response times” you need to be out ahead of it, because not responding in the time that users are becoming accustomed to will lose you money. Invest in the proper steps now, the future will only get faster.