If you’ve ever been accused in a relationship of not listening, you know that there are consequences to your inattention. At the very least, you annoy your loved one. But you could also miss out on something important or cause bigger issues down the road.
That’s the danger of not listening on social media to what’s being said about your brand. Social media is such an important tool for connecting with potential customers, and consumers are using it as a soapbox, for better or worse. If they’re talking about your brand — positively or negatively — you need to know what they’re saying.
When the Buzz is Positive
You might assume you only need to perk your ears up for negative rants about your business, but that’s not the case. Positive buzz is also something that you must listen for so you can respond to. Let’s say someone tweets that they love your brand. If you let that comment flap in the wind without a response, that person likely will go on with her life and forget about you. But on the other hand, if you respond warmly, thank her for the comment, and offer her a coupon on her next purchase, guess what happens? She buys from you again (and again) and feels a bond with your brand because of the interaction.
It doesn’t take much effort to show your appreciation of customers who share their love of you on social media.
When Things Turn Ugly
We’d all prefer the positive comments, but fact is: sometimes people get irate about a brand on social media. Maybe they had a bad experience. Maybe they didn’t and they just feel like being mean. Either way, you’ve got to nip it in the bud before it causes lasting and long-term damage.
The key here is acting fast. If you’re on top of monitoring social conversations, this will be easy to do. You should apologize publicly (not direct message) so others see you’re working to rectify the situation. It’s fine to take the conversation to private after that since you’ll need to get to the bottom of what happened and then make it right. Was there a hair in a customer’s food? Bring ‘em back in on the house. Did you get the order wrong? Send it again at no charge. While these actions cost money, they’re really crisis prevention because if you make the irate customer happy, he won’t do further damage by turning others away from your business.
Tips for Listening
I’d say that at least 30 percent of your social media efforts should go into monitoring what’s being said about your brand. It takes very little effort typically, as you can set up monitoring tools so that, with a glance, you can see all mentions of your company. Then when something arises, you can promptly respond with the appropriate message.
But don’t just listen and react. Pay attention to what you’re learning. Consistent negative feedback could tell you that one particular employee isn’t doing her best at customer service, or that there are flaws with your product. Consistent positive feedback can help you grow in new areas of your business. It’s the actions you take after that feedback that makes the difference for your business.
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Thought leadership and communications strategy for the C-suite written by the C-suite.
A blog for and about the media featuring trends, tips, tools, media moves and more.