Interacting with a customer via a social media platform is a very personal exchange as they invite you into their private online space. This means a certain level of trust needs to be achieved by the brand they are reaching out to and that’s you, buddy. Threatening this trust by exploiting the many potentials of social media is a sure way to tick your customers off so we’re here to help you avoid doing just that.
The companies who see social media as a way to cultivate longstanding relationships and build great communication with their customers prove far more successful than those who merely view it as an opportunity for relentless hard sell. Gaining followers is one thing but maintaining them is a whole other ball game so it’s vital that you are aware of the etiquette rules you must adhere to when building your online identity.
Here are a few fool proof ways to avoid rubbing your digital demographic up the wrong way.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep – A sure fire way to lose the respect of a social media follower or online customer is to fail to deliver on a promise you made them over the internet. False advertising is a cardinal sin when it comes to doing business and keeping customers happy, and the same stands for social media. Just because there is a screen between you doesn’t mean customers won’t expect you to deliver the goods. Promising something or promoting a fictional offer just to gain followers is never a great idea.
Respond to queries promptly – With the advances in modern technology, more and more people are using social media sites as their main sources of information. This means customers are likely to reach out to you via your social profiles when they have a query or complaint that they wish to express and you need to be there to provide a prompt response. Even if you are targeted with a negative review that you believe is unjust, react in a timely and professional manner to avoid being seen as negligent to the person making the claims and other followers that are privy to conversations in the public domain.
Stay away from direct messages – Earlier this month Twitter removed its 140-character limit from its direct messaging feature in a bid to let users “express themselves” with more freedom but this definitely isn’t your cue to bombard your followers’ inboxes. Personal mentions and replies are a great way to make your customers feel individually valued but an uninvited direct message is an invasion of digital privacy and just screams SPAM. Stick to the general rule that you should only ever speak to a customer directly when spoken to and never via a personal inbox, unless approached in this way.
Don’t bombard the newsfeed – You wouldn’t be blamed for believing that the more you post to your social media profiles, the more interaction and attention you could generate but employing this tactic will actually have a negative impact on your customers’ patience levels. Experts recommend limiting your posts to 1-3 per day for each platform so as to avoid overwhelming your audience and pushing them to hit the dreaded Unfollow button. Similarly, regurgitating the same posts over and over again will become monotonous and downright annoying. However, you can still get mileage from your links by altering the phrasing and accompanying images each time you share a post so that the reader feels like they’re getting new material as they scroll.
Don’t be too needy – Another bad habit to avoid when managing business social media profiles is outright asking for shares, likes, follows and retweets. Think of it like this – if you were walking down the street and a member of staff from a shop approached you with a fist full of flyers saying ‘please like my brand’, ‘please become a regular shopper in my store’ and asked you to distribute their flyers on behalf of them too, you’d most probably run a mile in the opposite direction. Well it’s exactly the same in the digital world.
Customers will be turned off by blatant desperation so it’s important that you keep your digital marketing efforts subtle. Customers also need to feel like there is something in it for them and be able to see a personal benefit before they are willing to engage, so coming across as overly needy is a definite no-go.
Remember that consistency is key – Another thing customers thrive off it consistency and rightly so! They want to know that you will always be there to provide them with the information and answers they need, and being consistent in your social media posting is a great way to reassure them of this. We know running a business is a pretty mammoth task and it can be easy to lose track of time but disappearing off the face of the cyber world for long periods of time and returning with an onslaught of posts to compensate is unsettling for your customers. Try using a free scheduling facility like Hootsuite or TweetDeck to bulk organise your posts so you’re not risking your digital reputation during busy times.