Today we are going to talk about a cardinal rule in social media marketing that should never be broken: you must respond to all social media comments. This rule applies whether you have a Facebook page with a few hundred followers or a Twitter channel with a few thousand. This is, after all, ‘social’ marketing and there is nothing worse than not responding to social engagement from a follower.
Not responding to social media comments can be equated to sitting in a business conference, raising your hand to ask a question, but the speaker fails to acknowledge you.
How does that make you feel?
Do you feel ignored? Maybe even stupid for trying to interact? Right or wrong, it creates negative association stays with you and chances are you are reminded of it when you see that person again or even hear their name.
The same applies to how your customers feel when they leave a comment on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform. Whether or not you respond, how you respond, and how swiftly you respond all go into your customer’s experience in engaging with your brand. And it leaves an impression.
So, to ensure that the impression your customers and followers have of your brand is positive, we are going to explore exactly why responding to social media comments is so important and how to make the most of your social interactions.
Why Responding to Social Media Comments is So Important
Customers in 2018 Demand Strong Social Interaction
To prove why responding to social media comments is so important, all we need to do is share the findings from a 2017 survey of 1000 consumers by Sprout Social on how customers are using social media:
- 80 percent of customers see social media as a channel that has made companies more accountable. Almost half of the respondents said they had used social media to complain.
- Whether it is seeking a refund, discount, logging a complaint, or raising awareness about an issue, social media is the second most preferred channel (after an in-person interaction) for customers to initiate communication. For millennials, social media is the most preferred channel.
- More than 60 percent of customers are likely to rethink their decision to purchase a brand that has received negative social media comments, 32 percent will share that negative experience on their social media accounts, and 17 percent will stop buying that brand altogether.
Knowing that customers are using social media as their prime source for connecting with your brand and business, it’s more important than ever to ensure that you provide a positive experience.
Responding on Social Media Can Boost Your Business and Brand
Yes, social media has put the power back in the hands of the customer. That doesn’t, however, mean that any negative publicity you receive via social media comments must stay that way. You have the power to turn the negative into positive.
When a customer calls you out on social media, all eyes are on you. How tactfully you handle a customer complaint and how swiftly you respond can turn a negative comment into a positive social media feed. These types of interactions can actually help you earn more loyal customers and even attracts new customers. By not shying away and taking control of the situation, you show current and potential customers that you care.
On the other hand, shying away and not responding will lead to people bad-mouthing your brand. And word can travel fast.
In addition to showing that you care, responding swiftly and meaningfully to social media comments tells your readers that you are willing to take the time to support your product/service. This will inevitably lead to more people asking questions as they know they’ll get a response. Moreover, answering all those questions will establish you as the go-to expert in your niche, all of which becomes a selling point for your business. It also leads to more people seeking you out for your expertise.
Are you seeing why responding to social media comments matters now?
In case you missed it, here are the cascading benefits of being responsive on social media:
More social media responses
More social media comments from visitors
Greater attention from non-followers
Business viewed as more responsive than the competition
Customers are willing to pay more for your service!
Social Media Comments Can Help Identify Gaps in Your Products/Services
For business owners who say that they don’t have the time to engage with customers on social media, think again. With customer service being a key driver in today’s competitive business world, listening to what your customers have to say via social media is essential. And sometimes the little nuggets they give you on social media can help you identify gaps in your product and service, which you may have not otherwise noticed.
If you are continually seeing the same questions or issues arising in social media comments, it’s a good indicator to stop and take a deeper look into any issues that may exist. From product defects to poor shipping practices, there are many areas of the business where customer feedback via social media comments can have a huge impact.
In fact, according to a Twitter poll, customers are willing to pay more for brands which are responsive on social media. So, if you are able to fix problems based on customer feedback, acknowledge and thank them on your social channel. Imagine how impressed they’ll be!
Consistent and Professional Responses Get You Positive Reactions
When responding to social media comments, maintain a professional approach and retain a style of writing that is in line with your brand’s overall persona. The aim should be to sound personable and approachable while resolving issues or answering questions.
If you use humor, emojis and GIF’s in your social media responses, ensure that you are doing so while still addressing the concerns raised by your customers. If you don’t have a quick resolution or answer, acknowledge that you have noted the customer’s comment and you will get back to them within a specific timeframe. And make sure you respond to them within that timeframe!
Consistent and positive responses will get you the most positive reaction. To maintain consistency in your approach to responding to social media comments, ensure that you have an outlined process that all employees are aware of. Circulate social media response guidelines, or even create response templates for common questions received on your social media accounts.
Just remember: your replies must always sound like a human responding and not a robot spewing automated responses which make no sense or sound repetitive. Encourage your employees to follow the guidelines but understand that every comment and customer is unique and the ultimate goal should be to please them.
What has your experience been in responding to social media comments? Did it help in engaging your audiences? Did you learn something new about your customers? Please share your feedback in the comments below.