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Social media can be a huge time sink for any company, if you’re not careful. It’s important to prioritize your social media activities so as to get the most out of the resources you’ve devoted to it. Part of that process is recognizing which social media interactions are worth responding to, and which ones aren’t.
As a general rule of thumb, you need to ask yourself an important question about any given social media post: what benefit will answering this post give to my company?
Accordingly, there are several types of posts that do deserve a response. Here are some of the sorts of posts that can, with the right reply, help out your business:
This is a tough one. On the one hand, any business that’s been out there for long is going to have competitors, disgruntled former employees, or former customers that simply dislike their company. It just comes with the territory. Even those companies with stellar customer service reputations wind up with a few haters from time to time. Those posts can, and should, go unanswered (or deleted).
On the other hand, a customer who’s genuinely unhappy with your company’s product or service and posts about it on social media should be seen as an opportunity. Not only is it an opportunity to salvage that customer for your company, there’s an added benefit as well. Other social media users will see how you handle the situation.
Handle it professionally and with the highest degree of customer care, and you’ll likely bring in additional interested customers. Handling these kinds of customer service issues in public can serve greatly to increase your reputation.
It’s easy to get a bit cynical when you spend your days disseminating product information on Facebook, your company’s website, and even email newsletters. When some social media user comes by and asks you for information you’ve given out a thousand times, it’s tempting to either dismiss it or simply offer a link to the answer.
However, a personal response is much more valuable in the eyes of the customer – and the other customers watching. Even copying and pasting the product information in to the comments section or as an @ reply on Twitter is simple, quick, and can save your customer time and trouble.
Social media is a wonderful platform in which to help build your business’ credibility and authority in your field. By building filters, searches, and notifications when industry terms crop up across social media, you can get involved in those discussions. These are tremendous opportunities to act as a thought leader in your industry and help build your brand.
The true power of social media for businesses isn’t the clever status updates or interesting information you tweet. The real power of social media lies with the fans and followers who share your information with others on a regular basis.
It’s important to encourage that kind of activity in two ways: first by asking for it (e.g. asking for a share or retweet) and second by acknowledging when someone actually does recommend your product or company.
A simple “thank you” goes a long way toward establishing rapport with that fan, and will help solidify the fan as a product evangelist going forward.
The same goes when a social media follower says something complimentary about your company or a product. A quick “glad you enjoyed it” will engender loyalty for them and their connections.
Posts to avoid
There are other posts that can be a bit of a trap for your social media presence. You’ll want to steer clear of responding to some posts, such as:
- Complaints or praise about competing product or competing businesses
- Posts made by competitors
- Accusations of illegal activities by your company
- Criticisms from competitors or disgruntled former employees
Each of these are an opportunity for you to win an argument, but make your company look bad in the process. No business ever wins in a flame war; it only serves to polarize the marketplace, and make those customers who already weren’t going to buy from you more resolute in that decision.
Your social media presence is a tremendous asset for your business. Carefully pick and choose which posts you’ll answer, and how. The right reply to the right post can mean new customers, while a misstep can even cost you some of your existing customers.
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