Having a social media presence is no longer simply a nice-to-have for brands. From Facebook and Twitter, to Pinterest and Instagram, customers expect to be able to communicate with you in open, social spaces as easily as they could privately email or call you. Yet it’s this public aspect of social platforms that can fill brands with dread, as 1 in 5 consumers admit to contacting brands via social media channels to get a customer service response.
So, how can brands turn their customers’ desire to communicate with them to their advantage? Here are our top tips for using your social media platforms to make your customers (and followers) happy…
Listen and respond (quickly)
You cannot resolve complaints on social media if you don’t know that they’re there, and you really don’t want to leave a negative comment hanging without a reply. Tools like Hootsuite are a great (and cost effective) method of keeping track of online conversations about your brand, allowing you to respond efficiently and appropriately.
The speed at which you reply is also an important factor in determining the happiness of your followers and customers. In fact, 53% of customers expect a response within 1 hour of tweeting a brand, regardless of the time of day. If you are repeatedly falling short of this, you might want to think about how you can improve. Whether this means delegating the responsibility for replying across different members of the team, or utilising departments and staff in different time zones to cover out of hours, it’s worth exploring your options.
Do not delete negative posts
This cannot be stressed enough. A sure fire way of annoying an already irate social media user is to remove their comments from your page. As tempting as it is to get rid of the problem, this will do your brand reputation more damage in the long run, as an even angrier post is almost guaranteed! It’s far better to respond as quickly as you can, and try to take the conversation into a private space. For example, if you get a negative Facebook post, the best way to diffuse the situation would be an empathetic public reply, asking the user to either provide you with their email address for further communication, or use Facebook Messenger. The important thing is to make sure that these negative comments are initially responded to positively and in the public manner that they are left, before moving them onto a more private platform.
The good news is that if your customers are already willing to communicate with you on social media spaces, you’ve already got a relatively engaged audience. The next step is to make your customers feel valued, and if you can, surprise and delight them. This is actually much simpler to achieve than it sounds!
Firstly, treat your customers like an actual person – for example, using their name and responding in an empathetic, genuine manner means they are more likely to reply in a similar fashion. You could also use your social media platforms to notify customers of changes relating to your service or product, to help build their trust and encourage them to see your page as a source of useful (or even humorous) content, rather than just a platform for complaints.
And let’s not forget the beauty of a free giveaway – offers that require your followers to post a response or interact with you to enter will also help build positivity amongst users (and of course, everyone loves free stuff!).
Be where your customers want to see you
Lastly, it might sound obvious but when you are deciding which social media platforms to adopt for your business, you need to make sure you are asking yourself, “where will my customers expect to see or interact with me?”. This should be what forms your strategy, rather than using the platforms you personally prefer. For example, you may love LinkedIn, but if your business sells to the public, rather than other businesses, and recruitment isn’t a huge priority right now, it makes more sense to invest the majority of your time in customer-facing platforms such as Twitter and Facebook instead.
If you would like more advice on how to ensure your social media channels are working for your brand, just drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you!