Over the past decade, social media has become the most vital communication platform for most businesses. Social media has become a platform in which brands interact with their consumers on an intimate level. Sprout Social conducted this study on how businesses engage with customers on social media. They found that 90 percent of consumers engage with brands on social media and that social media is the first place customers go if they have an issue—surpassing phone and email.
As customer service expectations become greater, it is imperative that brands take this direct communication with their consumers seriously. We’ve laid out a few steps you can follow to ensure your community management is on the right track:
Meet the audience where they are
Maintain and keep track of your company’s most populated platforms. Facebook and Twitter are most popular for direct communication with consumers; however, other platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ are heavily populated and can be a great avenue for reaching your audience and engaging with them on a personal level. Browse conversations that directly involve your brand by typing your company’s name into the search bar in each platform. This is one of the best ways to respond to issues, complaints, and praises from customers, as they ultimately hold the power when it comes to your brand’s image on social media.
Actively engage in conversation
Social media has given brand’s a voice, and more importantly, it has given the consumer a voice. Taking the time to reply to customer’s concerns on social media shows that you value your customers and pay attention to their habits and needs. Don’t only respond to the complaints—commenting on a customer’s post, or sharing their content when they’ve complimented your brand, shows loyalty back to those who are loyal to your business and willing to recommend your product or service. Actively engaging in conversation with consumers is crucial, especially when it is regarding a complaint or negative comment. Social media holds a lot of power when it comes to the reputation of your brand, so it’s important that you address all issues directly and publicly so your audience is aware of your solution.
Take it offline
It is important to address complaints publically, but sometimes it is even more important to take the conversation offline. Not every problem can be resolved in 140 characters, so direct message the customer and provide personal contact information when necessary. Providing personal contact information tells the customer you are genuinely concerned and want to gather more information on their issue in order to personally resolve the situation.
There’s definitely a hierarchy when it comes responding on social media. Understand which types of comments need to be addressed immediately. Questions on sales and promotions, urgent customer requests, complaints from dissatisfied consumers, and situations that could raise potential PR problems should all be resolved promptly. General references, compliments, generic questions, and comments can all be responded to afterward.
Sharing is caring
Not only is it important to interact with your consumers, it is important to educate them while networking with others in your industry. Sharing valuable blog posts and articles via Twitter and Facebook is a great way to increase your social media engagement. Whether it is sharing a relevant article, or commenting on someone else’s page, engaging with other companies will help grow your own presence by reaching a broader audience.
Social media’s power to influence audiences will continue to grow in the upcoming years. As marketers, we need to take advantage of organic social media and engage with consumers utilizing our platforms. Whether you’re a large company with a lot of social traffic, or you’re a small business still building your following, interacting with your customers on social media will promote social media growth for your brand.