Your social media presence drives customer sentiment, especially when it comes to how you respond to comments, feedback and reviews. We spoke to Jake Camacho, Regional Growth Manager at Locowise, about why letting customers know that you’re listening can make a big difference.
“If you’re allowing your customers to comment on your social media channels, be prepared to answer back whenever appropriate,” says Camacho.
“Today’s consumers expect responsiveness, especially if they have grievances to air, and if you can show that you’re willing to listen to and engage with customers it’s a win-win.”
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Keep your finger on the pulse
Social listening is the process of monitoring what’s being said on your social media channels in real time, to understand how customers are talking about your small business.
According to Camacho, it “can help small businesses quickly react to and participate in conversations as they happen.”
When it comes to the benefits of small businesses having timely, open dialog with their customers, the stats speak for themselves:
Research from social media management company Sprout Social shows that 83% of customers like when brands reply to their questions online, and 68% of them like when brands join in on conversations they’re mentioned in*.
There are a range of tools you can use to monitor social media and other online channels in order to understand the types of conversations people are having about your small business. Because social listening means not just tuning in, but taking action.
“Dedicated social listening tools can be invaluable for tracking conversations about your brand. And when it comes to measuring your responsiveness, analytics platforms such as Locowise can help ensure you’re responding to each post or private message in a timely and consistent fashion,” says Camacho.
Put the customer first, no matter their opinion
Customers who leave feedback, comments and reviews on your social media channels are expecting a response. And on a public forums like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter post, the whole world is watching how you respond.
If current or potential customers see you respond quickly, honestly and openly, it can lead to long-term loyalty. And disgruntled customers can be brought back onside if you take the right approach as soon as possible.
“Do make an effort to respond to all feedback, both negative and positive, but prioritise comments that are more pressing if you must,” says Camacho.
If you receive negative feedback, take it as an opportunity to not just improve the way you operate your small business, but how you communicate, too.
Review a negative comment carefully to make sure you’re across the situation, reply to let the customer (and other people reading) know you’re listening, then take the opportunity to speak with the disgruntled customer privately.
“Don’t feel like you need to carry out a fully-fledged conversation in the comments section,” says Camacho.
“If a customer needs assistance or has a grievance to air, acknowledge their comment and move the conversation to a one-on-one channel so you can help them in more detail. Give them a way to reach you directly, such as via private message or email.”
Respond in the right way, every time
When you’re responding to negative feedback, you need to make sure your positive tone of voice shines through. Camacho says that it’s always best to avoid coming off as defensive, even if the feedback isn’t pretty.
If there’s time, get a friend or colleague to read your response and ensure the tone is right. And always make sure you thank the customer for their comment or review.
For more help on the right way to use tone of voice for social media for small business, read our previous article here. Keep an eye out for the next part of our Social Media For Small Business series. We’ll be looking at how to turn your social media channels into an online storefront.
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