Responding to customers on social media can be a terrifying thought for even the most seasoned marketers. One misstep can easily get amplified. At the same time, brands can drive positive brand perception by turning this risk into an opportunity.
When a brand exceeds expectations, many customers (45 percent) post and share about their positive experiences. This is completely unprecedented in marketing history. Before the advent of social media, how many people would take time out of their day to tell a brand that they are doing a great job?
To be that brand that exceeds expectations requires a strong social media response strategy. Previously, marketing and customer service teams operated in silos. With social media, there is greater overlap than ever before between these two functions. It requires cooperation and coordination between these functions to deliver both excellent brand experiences and customer service through social media channels.
At BrandBastion, we work with top brands to help them manage and respond to comments on ads and organic posts. We also help them deal with customer service-specific inquiries. We believe that brands should always reply on social media, regardless of the comment type.
But there are situations where responding publicly on social media is sufficient, and there are situations where the conversation should be moved to private channels.
Marketing strategist and renowned author Jay Baer writes that social media is a “spectator sport.” It is so important not only to respond, but to respond publicly. What can brands gain by responding publicly?
For instance, a large consumer brand we work with (receiving, on average, over 60,000 comments per month) has managed to reduce the volume of recurring questions on a sensitive topic significantly (50 percent on Instagram and 38 percent on Facebook) over an eight month period. They did this simply by clearly and transparently explaining their policies and providing links to their website for more information. Over time, the number of such comments and the negativity and criticism related to this decreased across the brand’s properties.
While it is important to respond publicly, it is also important to ensure that additional follow up happens as needed. Not all of these follow up conversations need to continue publicly.
Research shows that to resolve complaints adequately, 60 percent of businesses have to go beyond one contact when it comes to responding on social media. There are some instances in which it might be more useful to move the conversation to the private domain, be it email, call - or even more conveniently for the customer - Facebook Messenger. These include: