You’ve doubtless heard the saying, “With great power comes great responsibility.” It’s widely attributed to Spiderman’s Uncle Ben, but bad news, folks: Voltaire beat him to it by a few centuries.
Whoever said it first, its sentiment is particularly true when applied to social media. Social media can be a powerful tool for your business, but it brings with it a responsibility, not just to present your business in the best possible light but to interact wisely with your customers. So here are our five rules to ensure you get it right!
1. Think engagement, not hard-sell
Some small businesses set up social media accounts, create content and do a great job of scheduling it to pump out automatically. And then they turn their attention away from their social media presence, thinking their job is done.
This isn’t what social media is about and the clue is right there in the name. It’s social media and you need to interact with your customers. Talk to them, not at them, and listen to what they have to say! Post content that engages their interest, not just a stream of continual advertising and special offers.
2. Don’t leave them hanging
Do your best not to leave customer comments unanswered, whatever their nature. Some businesses are swift to deal with complaints but ignore praise or banter from customers. Don’t! Social media is about building a relationship with your customers in a way that businesses never could before it came along. You don’t want your customers to feel ignored, so find time to reply, even if it’s just a brief acknowledgement or thank you.
3. Don’t be a robot
While most companies can’t afford to be too controversial or opinionated on social media, that doesn’t mean you should be a robot. Show some personality. Post article links relevant to your demographic, share a joke and retweet content from other streams that your customers might appreciate. Think friendly, not formal.
4. Respond swiftly to complaints
When someone makes a complaint or airs a gripe on social media, the world is watching to see how you handle it. So do it swiftly! Start with a sincere apology and an immediate reassurance that you will do your best to sort it out straight away. Follow that with a request for them to message you directly with the full details.
When a customer makes a complaint, they usually desire three things: a sincere apology, a wrong put right and recompense for their inconvenience. Tick all three boxes and ensure that the watching world knows you’ve done so.
‘Thanks for getting in touch, @warhammer13J. Again, our sincere apologies that the tablet was faulty – your new one is on its way by next day delivery and we hope you find some great accessories to spend your £10 gift code on.’
5. Deal with trolls in the right way
The customer is not always right – or even a customer. Unfortunately, wherever you go on social media, there will always be malcontents and trolls who like to sling insults and berate you online, even though you may never have had any dealings with them.
Try to avoid getting into an online slanging match with these troublemakers. Ignore as much as possible, deal with any valid complaints they have and stay professional. If this fails, don’t delay in taking action. Block, mute, delete or report them as is appropriate for the channel and don’t let them ruin your business’s social media streams or its reputation.
What works and doesn’t work for you on social media? How have you dealt with trolls? Share your experiences and tips!