When it was originally conceptualized, social media was designed for interpersonal relationships between individual people.
Only within the last few years have businesses begun to tap into the potential of social media for marketing. In response, social media sites have begun to create ways for businesses to use their sites effectively.
So recent is this change that the well-known and loved social media site Instagram actually just introduced business profiles in June 2016. Social media isn’t just shifting to cater to business marketing, though. Many experts believe social media is changing the ways businesses market in the first place.
One way social media is changing the marketing landscape? By publicly revealing how businesses interact with and respond to their customers.
What Social Media Response Is
Whether you like it or not, if you have a profile on social media, customers can interact with your brand positively or negatively. Even if your business has no profile, customers can post complaints or compliments online for their whole network (and potentially a much wider audience) to see. That same audience has the opportunity to see how you respond.
Your social media response is simply interacting with customers who contact your business or post material about your business online. For example, if a customer tweets “my food arrived cold at (restaurant,) not pleased with the service,” the business has the opportunity to respond. Many business’ have responded to such social media cues with apologies, offers for refunds if the customer returns, etc.
Why Social Media Response Matters
Savvy business professionals know their number one tool and enemy in marketing is word of mouth. Social media amplifies the impact of word of mouth marketing. If, as a business, you fail to respond to customers online, you might be fueling your own negative reputation.
Responding promptly and tactfully to social media interactions matters. Through your responses, you reinforce the values you tout in your marketing. You may earn positive publicity. It’s more than likely that at very least, you’ll satisfy a dissatisfied customer.
How to Respond to Customers on Social Media
As easy as responding to social media interactions may sound, there is strategy involved for businesses. Experts at Blitz have plenty of experience with the strategic elements of social media response, even though some of the material individuals post online is derogatory, fictitious, and inflammatory. The public sphere is rarely a useful place for businesses to debate over manners or fact, though. When responding to criticisms (or even compliments) online, businesses ought to:
- Be tactful
- Address facts, not opinions
- Use professional language and courtesy
- Assume the customer is correct
- Offer to make amends in person
- Represent the brand
Those last two strategies are especially important.
Avoid offering to rectify situations or reward compliments publicly. This attracts scammers. Further, it leaves the business open to receiving more criticism by people looking for freebies. Ask the customer to call or visit your business personally to make amends.
Your business brand makes a claim about what your business values and what makes your business unique. Represent those claims whenever you interact online. For example, if your business tagline and marketing centers around customers being “worthwhile,” then respond to complaints, compliments, and concerns noting that the business finds the customers worthwhile.
Using tactics like these, your social media responses will speak for themselves as marketing tools to a broad audience. Further, they’ll minimize any negative marketing customers may be doing for you online.
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