Here’s How Businesses Should Act on Social

the words "social media" spelled out

Imagine you’ve just given a keynote speech to a large group of people. Or, in other words, you’ve delivered some content to an audience. After you have spoken, everyone gathers in the reception area. Attendees approach you to shake your hand, sing your praises, share their perspectives, and introduce you to other people of interest. 

What would people think of you if, instead of graciously taking time to greet everyone, greeted them with radio silence?

And onlookers who witnessed your behavior, would they be less likely to interact with you? 

You bet. 

You can’t just ghost them, these people are your red-hot leads. These are prospects who have now reached problem, solution, and product levels of awareness – all because of your content.  All you need to do now is shake a couple of hands and field some clarifying questions to drive home the sales. The bottom line is:

Ignoring other people is bad for business!

Take it from me. I work on social media for Oberlo – a company with 200,000 YouTube followers, 66,000 Instagram followers, and 380,000 Facebook followers.

And let me tell you, content left unattended ages like milk. The overall sentiment in the comments section quickly turns sour as valid questions about your company are left unanswered and opportunities for additional revenue disappear. 

This post will explain why failing to engage in the conversation that you started sends a clear message to your audience that it’s not worth interacting with your brand.

Starting the Conversation

The conversation you facilitate in the comments section and in your inbox are equally as important as the original content you posted. If you’re not going to look alive and stay alert, in the comments section and in your direct messages, it’s a waste of resources to post content on behalf of your brand. 

And if you’re absent, you’ll earn less money.

Social media customer service is where the action is happening! In fact, customers that receive a response from brands on Twitter are willing to spend up to 20 percent more on your products or services. And they’re also 30 percent more likely to recommend your brand – that is a massive boost for simply engaging on just one social media channel. 

Based on that single figure, you can see it’s pretty important to make sure that prospective customers view your brand as active and dynamic, wherever they choose to engage with it. 

If you want to drive sales and get more out of your marketing budget, then you need to get into the mix, acknowledge your audience, engage with those who provide feedback and defend your post by tactfully sparring with those who challenge your perspectives. You might be surprised at the multiplier effect that doing so will have on your audience engagement and, in turn, your conversions.

More and more people are choosing to engage with their favorite brands through their social media channels. 

After all, why send an email and open a ticket with a support team when you can just slide into the DMs of your favorite clothing company? 

Besides, who can resist being able to see if your message has been “read” by the recipient or not? Would you have the expectation of a faster and more human response? Likely… 

Great brands know that they need to go to where their audience is – they can’t afford to wait around for their audience to come to them. You’ve got to be present and actively align your brand with your audience, and there’s no better way to do that than to show up where they hang out. You know, mingle, schmooze, and network with them. 

All too often social media customer service is an afterthought, or worse, completely overlooked by brands. It’s sad but it’s true.

When you post content, you’re inviting people to engage with your brand – you’re hoping to educate viewers, inspire prospects and incite action from buyers. So, when you’re not there to follow up in the comments, you’ve not only harmed your brand by failing the individual who reached out and expected a response – you’ve done it publicly as well. Everyone can see how unresponsive you are! Onlookers who are keeping a watchful eye to see what your brand is all about will take note – but don’t expect to hear from them. 

On the flipside, leveraging your social media prowess can have a hugely positive impact on your business – and it gives you the opportunity to shape and define a brand personality. Frequently engaging in the conversation will strengthen your audience’s affinity to your brand and will also help you derive more value from every marketing dollar you spend. Your business will benefit by:

  • Increasing brand awareness and reach
  • Collecting vital data through social listening
  • Actively marketing and selling your products 

5 Tips for Providing Kick-A Customer Service on Social

So, how do you build a strategy that will propel your brand into the conversation, create better awareness, and be the engine of your customer-facing interactions?

Use these five keys to providing top-tier social media customer service and leave your competitors scrambling to keep up:

1. Determine which social media platforms are best for building your business.

All social media platforms are effective in getting the word out, but they’re not all created equal. Some platforms lend themselves more to one business than the next. Your goal is to figure out where your customers are and go to them – that’s the litmus test. 

If your audience is on Instagram, then focus your attention there! If your target market is professionals on LinkedIn, that’s where you need to be. If your audience is there and engaged, then that’s your platform. 

If you don’t know where to start, then ask your visitors or sleuth your competitors’ pages and ads. There’s nothing stopping you from asking your existing audience which social media platforms they prefer to interact on the most. Furthermore, there’s no harm in taking a deep dive into how your competitors currently market to your prospects. 

2. Decide how you want your tone and voice to be perceived

How your audience perceives your tone of voice – your attitude – on social media matters. A lot.

In an environment where you’re working against character limits and short attention spans, you’ve got to make sure your tone is not only on-brand and consistent, but concise as well. You can’t afford to let an upset throw you off your game. It’s important to keep this top-of-mind, even in the face of contentious behavior like this:  

It’s clear that in this situation, the $50 coupon was a gracious offering to compensate the customer, but they still chose to double down and essentially say that the coupon was of little value to them. A situation like thiscan be frustrating. And it can make you want to push back and become contentious. But that won’t bode well for your reputation. 

When you make a mistake, it lives on forever – unless you’re scrubbing your comments section, but we wouldn’t suggest it. 

We can’t stress this enough. When you put an answer out into the social media-verse, it becomes the answer for anyone else who may have that same question. Not only should it be the correct answer, but it should also align with the tone of voice for the brand by setting expectations and precedent. You can’t afford to contradict yourself, likeoffering special treatment to one person and not to the next.

In social media customer service, you’re always teetering on the edge of either public praise or a public roasting. Striking the right tone of voice depends on the profile of your audience, the platform, and your ideal customer.

3. Strike while the iron is hot! Respond to comments and don’t let them get stale 

You’re operating in a world of live feeds. Social media customer service is fast-paced and changes rapidly. If you miss a conversation, it can be buried in the feed within hours, minutes, and in the case of Twitter, even seconds! When your audience reaches out to you, they expect you to be there, engaged and ready to offer help.  

Nobody is waiting around for you to reply within a day or week. It’s now or never. So be responsive and let your social media presence drive revenue.

It doesn’t look good when you’ve replied to a comment from a half an hour ago, but a comment from five hours ago that is more difficult to answer is collecting dust. It’s easy to see when you’re cherry-picking the easy interactions – and your audience sees this too! It doesn’t reflect well on your brand when your audience can see you’re not ready to roll up your sleeves and have tough conversations or answer harder questions promptly. 

4. Help your marketing operation by tracking your data 

Tag your conversations based on topics and identify new opportunities to create marketing content your audience really, truly wants to see.

Engaging with your audience on social media channels is not just a great way to create a brand presence and to strengthen affinity within your audience, it’s an even better way to determine what your future content is going to look like. 

There are a lot of ways to track data from your social media channels. We’d suggest using a tool like Conversocial (or any other social media manager that suits your needs), that will aggregate all your social media channels into one inbox where you can respond, like, and tag all mentions of your brand. 

By using an aggregate social media management software like Conversocial or Hootsuite, you can get incredible insights into what your audience really cares about and what they want to see and hear from you. You’ll also be able to identify trends and overall sentiment, as well as track response time, the volume of inbound conversations, and customer satisfaction. All of these things will be vital to increasing your social media customer service prowess.

5. Dispute resolution

There’s only so much you can resolve while under the watchful eye of the public and at some point, you may need to tactfully divert the conversation towards private channels. Key indications that it’s time to move to a one-on-one discussion are:

  • You require private information about the person to resolve the issue
  • There is a legitimate complaint and the customer is expressing frustration and anger towards your brand, its products, or its service offering
  • There is the potential for legal ramifications

These types of conversations are best resolved outside of the public domain. Make sure you’ve got a process to identify and divert conversations to private forums if they may negatively impact your brand

Conclusion

It’s your job as a business owner to be the steward of your digital spaces. By engaging in the conversation, you add value to your products and services, boost brand awareness, and better position yourself for future offerings. 

Without a social media customer service presence, brands can be viewed as cold, voiceless entities who do not care about the community they’re trying to foster.  If you’re sharing content with the intent of making sales but not sticking around for the resulting conversation, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot. Eventually your customers will catch on.

Avoid being shallow and transactional. Instead, be a thought-leader, share valuable insights, and help your brand become revered by engaging with every single like, comment, and direct message. 

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