Good Or Bad – You Must Engage With Your Customers Through Social Media

Laura Clarke, Guest Blogger From Sentiment MetricsToday’s post comes from Laura Clarke,a blogger and lover of all things social media. Laura currently works on behalf of Sentiment Metrics, a leading provider of social media management software. I appreciate Laura sharing her thoughts/experiences with customer engagement via social media channels!

Never has social media been such a brilliant marketing and customer relation tool. As Facebook, Twitter and Google+ continue to grow year on year social media monitoring is now more crucial than ever to find out what your customers are saying about you, whether it be good, or bad.

These days if a customer is angry by poor customer service or a faulty product, they are more likely to vent their anger on social media than anywhere else. With Twitter accounts not unusually having hundreds if not thousands of followers, it is vital to solve the problem quickly and offer a sincere apology and a way to redeem your company’s reputation as soon as possible.

But how do you know if someone has posted about you?

There are many online tools for monitoring when people mention your company. A free application is Tweetdeck, which means you can write only one post and send it to all of your social media platforms at once and also let you see your mentions. However, this will not show you which mentions are positive and which are negative. To find this out you will need to invest in a social media analytics software package.

How do you deal with negativity?

Dealing with customers who have had posted negative comments about your company can be irritating, especially if you feel you did not do anything wrong. The key here is to never act defensive in your reply or use a rude, sarcastic or patronizing tone,  as this will only cause more bad publicity and in turn anger many more potential customers and put them off from using your firm.

Once an undesirable remark is made about your company the first thing to do is to set about issuing a sincere apology. Depending on how influential the angered person is may determine what sort of compensation is needed. A Facebook user with only a few personal friends and family members would not cause too much damage to your reputation so a written apology would probably suffice. A Twitter account with thousands of followers needs much more urgent attention and in this case company vouchers or a full refund may be required.

So, do I ignore positive comments?

No! Making sure that happy customers stay that way is just as important as stopping bad press. A simple “thank you” or “glad you were happy with our service today” will make the customer feel valued and much more likely to return to your business. Also, it is important that people see that a customer has been happy with you and if their friends see that you have engaged with your customers they may also be more inclined to take their custom to you.

By responding in a polite and timely way to the negative news as well as the positive, your company will surely grow as a result of it. Whatever you do, make sure you do not underestimate the power of social media for the progression of your company.

Still wondering whether engaging is worth it? These 7 reasons my help in your decision and plannning:

7 reasons to embrace online culture (social media) by J6 design

7 reasons to embrace online culture (social media)

Thanks again, Laura, for sharing your thoughts and experiences with how/when to engage with customers. Some companies are hesitant to dip their toe into the social space, for fear of what their customers will say, how they will engage, and how much time/energy it will take to listen, analyze, and maintain. The reality is, however, that engaging in social media is becoming a cost of doing business, like having a customer support telephone number or having a Website. Those companies that choose to ignore the social space will lag behind their competitors, risking potential perception issues in the eyes of their customers.Have thoughts, feedback or experiences with companies that choose not to engage or those that are doing it well? Leave a comment!Cheers!

–Sean

Comments And Reactions

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  7. Sean and Kathy,

    Great post! I have a series of posts about dealing with negatives on social media starting with: CIOs: Dealing with Negatives on Social Media http://bit.ly/pyMfYs

    One thing I take a bit of an issue with in your post is the business about only responding if the negative poster has influence. All your customers are important and all deserve to be engaged with if they have problems.

    Of course, some are ragers and will never be satisfied, but social media influence should not affect the response, IMHO

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  17. Neat infographic and as we all learn more about social media and business we are all going to have to learn more about how to deal with negativity. We know that 94 per cent of our customers are either very satisfied or satisfied with our customer service, product quality and cost and we want to keep it that way so engagement is so necessary, even if sometimes it seems like hard work.

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