By Jonathan Maxim, an app founder, growth marketer and yogi nerd working at K&J Growth Hackers, serving Xfinity, TikTok, U.S. Dept of State and more.
When Facebook came out, some people thought it was a fad. Today, there are countless social media platforms where brands fight for relevance and engagement.
Social platforms are a recognized channel for customer care, marketing and sales and can propel your brand forward if you do it right, but it’s just as easy to make mistakes that are amplified for the world to see. So, you have to approach it with the same level of care and attention to detail as you would any other channel you use to grow your business. This is why brands should not underestimate the power of brand-customer relations on social media.
Challenges With Social Customer Care
People like to talk about the benefits of social customer care because they can be so powerful. Customers you engage with on social media spend, on average, 20%-40% more.
Social media plays a prominent role in the marketing plans of most businesses because there are a lot of benefits. There can also be many consequences if you don’t get it right.
Mistakes Are Amplified
Whether you do it yourself, have a team member handle it, or outsource it, mistakes will happen.
With face-to-face interactions, mistakes often can be smoothed over quickly and the situation salvaged. On social media, all it takes is one retweet, share or repost by the right person, and the interaction will go viral.
This is what happened with Pigalle Boston. The customer may have been harsh, but that’s no excuse for the way Pigalle Boston reacted. It would have been better to ignore the comment than reply in such a manner. This is where “branding” goes too far.
Difficult To Understand What Matters
There are countless inputs when it comes to the attention of a brand. Some things are much more important than others.
There’s a lot of social media chatter. You may realize that the occasional bad comment has no bearing on your overall reputation.
Document A Customer Care Strategy
The first step is to get crystal clear on your strategy. Everyone involved should know the way your brand talks, how to handle specific situations and when to escalate. You should also understand the demographics of your audience and how they’re responding to certain situations. This allows you to move faster and navigate uncertain situations with confidence.
Keep in mind that your customer care strategy should be informed by and complement your brand guidelines. These documents are two parts of a cohesive whole.
Here are some of the things to touch on when documenting your strategy.
How To Handle Negative Feedback
You’ll get more negative feedback as you grow. It’s important to have clear guidelines before you encounter those situations so your response is in line with your brand. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re making guidelines.
• People want to feel heard. Nothing is worse than being ignored by a business you pay for a service or product. Even if the feedback isn’t something you’re planning on taking action on — like the way a feature works — try to understand their perspective.
• People are more vocal with unacknowledged criticism. It won’t disappear if you don’t handle it. Make it a point to respond promptly and professionally to negative feedback.
• Ignore the trolls. Not all feedback is worth acknowledging. You’re not a punching bag. If the person is being offensive, then simply ignore them.
How To Handle Positive Feedback
This may seem like a strange thing to plan for, but it’s just as important as planning for the negative comments. Two-thirds of companies now primarily compete on the basis of customer experience, so handling negative feedback well is an opportunity to turn things around, while positive feedback is an opportunity to let your brand personality shine and amplify the work you’re doing.
You don’t want to come off as inauthentic while trying to highlight your work. When responding to positive feedback, you can be more playful and informal. Think about the core of your brand personality, and put it on display for the world to see.
Choose The Platforms That Make Sense For You
You don’t have to be everywhere at once — especially when you’re a small brand. In fact, it may be detrimental when starting your social customer care strategy. If you don’t have previous experience or systems in place, you can spread yourself thin trying to keep up with customers.
Once you’ve chosen the platforms, adapt your message and attitude to the platform. This is a form of psychographic segmentation that takes the attitudes of the people you’re interacting with into consideration.
Adapting your message doesn’t mean you change your brand tone or personality. It means you follow the norms of the platform.
For example, if the platform you choose uses long-form messages, then you use long-form messages. If short, quick replies are the norm, then you also use short, quick messages.
Etsy takes this a step further by creating multiple Twitter accounts that handle specific types of information. It has one for support, one for customer success (now defunct) and one for the main brand. Each one is focused on specific content and interactions.
Lastly, you may not need multiple social accounts. It’s more important to choose the right platforms and adapt your messages. Do this successfully by studying the norms of the social media platform you want to use before you commit 100%.