We are all aware of the importance of social media as a tool to build your company’s reputation, cultivate your customer’s faith on your ability of solving issues, show your customer how important they are to you, promote your products, services or events or simply engage your customer and increase your e-commerce sales. There are really numerous reasons why your company should be active in the social media channels.
There are several things that you must do to have effective engagement with your fans, and I will name 3 that I consider important:
First it is very important that you have your branding very clear among all your social media contributors (and obviously among all your employees) so you can BE CONSISTENT. To me, that is rule number one. Your message must be consistent throughout all the channels. Your customers and fans, as well as your team must hear the same message, no matter where they are getting it from, otherwise you will not only confuse them, but shake your credibility. Be clear and concise in your content. If you are promoting a sale via social media, for example, do not make it confusing or complicated, and only give what you can deliver. Promising discounts, “free whatever”, or rebates that you do not intend to give is an absolute no-no. The same fans that will read your posting, will get back and post a negative comment if you do not comply with your promises.
Second: BE QUICK to respond to your fans/customers. Whether they are asking questions, complimenting you, asking to have an issue solved, or complaining, respond promptly. One of the social media facts is that it is dynamic, real-time. There is a time stamp for everything and believe me, fans are very attentive to it. They are using social media either because they have tried to reach out to your customer service via other means and were not successful, or they believe you don’t think you give them the importance that they deserve, or because they know once they go public the companies tend to be more politically correct, or for any other reason that they might find fair and right. They want a response, they want action, and they want it NOW. Make sure to monitor all your social media activity closely and be very prompt to respond.
Third: FOLLOW THROUGH. Be very cautious with politically correct responses, impersonal responses, “mass” responses. Be cautious to never compromise your customers publicly, even if they try to compromise your company (other fans will engage into a campaign against you). Make sure that your social media team is very well-connected with your customer care team, your marketing team, your managers. Make sure that once more, the response or comment posted by the company is legit, that you will be able to follow through. If it is a promo, make sure the details are clear and your marketing and customer care team can speak about it if contacted directly by the customer; if it is an individual issue, that after you post the “please reach out to us at 888-XXXXX” (what most of the companies do to avoid the ping-pong between customer and company), your team knows about the issue upfront and can actually give a first time solution to the customer (they love to go back numerous times and post how you were unwilling to solve the issue); if what they have is a question, that your media team reaches out to the specialist to answer the question consistently and accurately. No matter which case we are talking about, make sure you can follow through, you can deliver what you promised. Social media is not the solution to the customer questions, issues or complaints, only a channel to communicate with them: make sure that it is well-connected to the teams that will actually take action.
Social media has really changed the way that the customers search for information or solutions. And the companies that do not follow the trend will sure get stuck around the curve. However, make sure your team understands that your company’s social media pages are not their personal ones: have clear and concise standards. And make sure you can measure the results of your efforts!
Filed under: Biz Parlor Categories | Tagged: Branding, Business, Communication channel, Company image, Customer complaints, Customer engagement, Customer questions, Customer service, Facebook, Issue resolution, Marketing and Advertising, Mass communication, Reputation, Social media, Social Media community, Twitter |