You and your business are likely already on all of the major social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but are you using them to their full potential? One of the latest trends in the world of social media and business, is connecting with customers and audiences through social media to provide better customer support and services.
Social media has become a huge part of nearly every company’s marketing strategy, but it’s not enough to simply share content. Today’s consumers want brands to offer efficient customer service through their social platforms. In fact, according to Social Media Today, nearly 85 percent of consumers expect a company to respond to social media inquiries within 24 hours, and 72 percent expect answers within an hour when they reach out on Twitter.
To best serve your customers, it’s important to meet them where they are and give them the care and attention they need, on whatever platform they’re using. We asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share tips on how brands should be using social media for customer service.
1. Pay Attention to How Customers Interact With One Another
The best way to create a great customer experience is to allow your users to interact freely on social media. Your company should be aware of these comments as they give you the best opportunity to provide customer service. If an individual posts a complaint, step in to address that comment and either fix it right away or let the user know why it can’t be implemented.
– Julian Montoya, JM11 Investments
2. Offer an Interactive Experience to Collect Feedback
Social media platforms like Instagram are adding more features to make the experience interactive, such as adding polls to Instagram Stories. We’ve taken advantage of this feature to share new episodes of our podcast. We’ve gathered valuable information about listener interest and have seen our downloads spike as a result.
3. Monitor Your Business Name on Social Media
Not everyone who has a problem will contact you directly. Some people will just tweet about it or mention it on another social media site. That’s why it’s important to monitor your name, whether you use Google Alerts or a reputation management tool. This helps you stay informed if anyone has a complaint and shows that you care about satisfying your customers.
4. Implement Messenger Bots
Messenger bots are growing ever more sophisticated. It’s a great tool if implemented correctly. People can get their immediate concerns and common questions addressed. When it becomes more complicated, you must have an immediate measure to connect them to a live person. It also helps to mitigate harmful review posts on the public domain itself.
5. Encourage Customers to Take the Conversation Offline When Necessary
Social media as a customer service tool cannot be applied to all business cases. A quick phone call via social media messenger can provide good support to a customer in need. Social media tools can be used effectively in offering information about your product and services.
6. Use Twitter as a Q&A Tool
Avoid paying for third-party AI tools and utilize Twitter as a way to answer questions for your customers. This is also a savvy way to implement subtle advertising, as customers will scan your Twitter page to see if any of their unasked questions have been answered.
7. Turn Upset Customers Into Advocates
In my experience, consumers are talking about products on social media more than companies can feasibly get involved. The most effective social media work you do will be serving your upset customers. By owning your mistakes and reaching out to make it right, you can turn loud complaints into praise.
Your audience will appreciate that you care to fix mistakes.
– Alexander Mistakidis, Gamelynx
8. Make It a Conversation
I always compare how you manage social media to how you’re having a conversation with a person in real life. If you’re just making statements about yourself, but not listening or responding to others, it doesn’t work. Make sure you’re listening and engaging with your peers and customers on social media. It can’t just be about you.
9. Foster a Community
Social media has been a very effective customer service tool for us thus far. Having quick response rates is a great way to encourage users to use your product when they may not want to deal with official customer service channels. Reddit can foster discussion between customers and employees, which can develop as a customer service guide for customers in need of a simple fix.
10. Always Respond to Brand Mentions
Consumers use social media platforms for many different purposes. It’s essential to always acknowledge a brand mention or question on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are many automated tools that provide alerts for specific brand mentions. It’s good practice to set up these alerts and engage with your audience when you see a brand mention.
11. Enable the Facebook Messenger Pop-Up Window and Use a Chatbot
On Facebook, you can have a message window pop up as soon as someone comes to your page and ask if they can help you. Having that around-the-clock availability to help can be a welcome sign to customers and potential customers.
12. Share Customer-Centric Content
Don’t solely use social media as a self-promotional marketing platform, but also as a platform to have meaningful conversations with your customers. We often encourage people to tweet us with their questions and concerns. It’s an easy, actionable way of getting in touch rather than emailing or calling. It also helps us put out information that is useful to our customers, such as product tips and tricks.
13. Find a Tool That Integrates All Your Social Channels
Make it clear what channels your company has a presence on and understand that if you post on Facebook and Instagram, you’re going to get direct messages there and customers will expect you to reply just like you reply to emails. Good software that allows your team to see all emails and social messages in one place is the way to go.
How to Make the Most of Your Social Media Efforts
With chatbots and social media now combining powers, it’s likely going to be easier and more effective than ever for brands to start using social media for customer support and user feedback. If this is something of interest to you, be sure to consider each of the options mentioned in our expert answers above.