5 Tips for Interacting with Customers on Social Media


5 Tips for Interacting with Customers on Social MediaIn the marketing world today social media is bigger and more important than ever before. Brands need to have a great social media presence and a part of that is making sure that you connect and engage with customers so that they remain loyal and interested in what your company is doing. People online expect great customer service along with interesting and engaging content which means interacting with customers whenever you can.

Interacting with customers can mean responding to comments, re-posting their content or having a conversation online through direct messaging. Customers want their voice to be heard especially if they have questions, concerns or issues with your brand. Even light jokes or humor can be a great way to connect with customers so that they have a positive image of your brand.

Customer interaction on social media can be a crucial aspect of marketing. Here are 5 tips for interacting with customers online-

1. Be Prepared to Always Respond

If people online want to communicate with a brand you need to make sure that you are always available to respond to them. Make sure to have social media staff that can read comments and write an appropriate response in a short amount of time. Customers don’t like being ignored and will be more interested in a brand if they can communicate with them in a timely way.

2. Have an Official Response for Major Concerns

Even though many of your interactions with customers will be positive, at times there will be genuine issues that you need to address. When customers have complaints or major concerns about your product or service you will need to respond in an appropriate way. If you have an official response prepared for these situations you are less likely to deal with too much backlash.

The most important thing is letting customers know that their concerns are being heard when they have questions, a complaint or are alerting the company about a particular issue. You should have a response that directs the customers to more information so that they can have a better understanding of the issue and how to deal with it. Having a prepared response can make it easier to respond quickly and efficiently to each customer so that they aren’t waiting too long for an answer.

3. Post User-Generated Content

Aside from responding directly to comments, there are other more creative ways to interact with customers that will keep them engaged and boost the positive opinion of their brand. Posting content that users have created can get people more involved in your social media site and excited about your company. When your content is created by customers it makes them feel that they are part of the topic and add value to your brand.

An easy way to find user-generated content is to hold a contest asking followers to post photos with your product and provide a prize for the best photo. This not only gets people to know your brand better but it also gives them incentive to share photos of your products and spread the word about the company. Followers will have more of a reason to love your brand and connect with you.

4. Avoid too Much Promotional Content

In order to get users to engage and interact more with your brand it is helpful to avoid making every post about self-promotion. Obviously the goal of social media is to promote new products and market your brand but followers will get bored and lose interest in your page if it is too heavily promotional. You will need to be more creative and conversational to get people to respond positively to the content that you post.

You can create posts that simply ask questions, talk about life matters, or discuss current events so that content is not always focused on selling something. Sparking a conversation is the best way to get people to interact with you and remember your brand. As you attract more people through engaging content you can add in the occasional promotional post to push your products as well.

5. Track Your Interactions and Look for Patterns

An important part of social media is making sure to analyze the results of everything you do to see what works and what doesn’t. Take the time to track the kinds of interactions you have with customers to see what gets the best response. Keeping track can also help you ensure that you are always responding to customer concerns and don’t leave any question unanswered.

Analyzing which posts performed the best and which comments got the most positive response can help you tailor your social media presence. You will be able to learn how to adjust your technique and get the most out of your interactions online.

Announcing a Phone for Facebook

Is the world really ready for a Facebook Phone? On April 4, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a phone solely dedicated to the social network. Can this phone compete with all the other smartphones currently out there. We shall see very soon. Check out this parody to see what naysayers think about the Facebook phone.

With users already complaining about layout changes and privacy issues with the new Graph Search, is this phone really going to help with Facebook’s reputation and/or stock prices? Users have always seemed to have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. Let’s take a look:

Distraction – Just imagine it: Facebook Home will revolve around people, instead of applications. How convenient, or should I say distracting. Check out this productivity study from 2012, where it was found that if students checked Facebook just once during the 15-minute study period, they were worse students!

Updates and Changes – Although Facebook Home won’t feature ads just yet, that could someday (soon) become a reality. The new Facebook phone will be touted for constant new updates but is this really a selling point when users are already complaining about interface changes and ads in their feed? For now, monthly updates are in the works.

Privacy – In a sense, it will be like giving Facebook full access to your phone. While this is exciting for a handful of people, I’m guessing that most people won’t be too thrilled. Permissions, data collection, and chat monitoring are just a few privacy concerns.

If you’re really interested and would like a sneak peek, Facebook Home will be available as a free download on Google’s Play Store on April 12, 2013. Although it will will work only on a handful on Android phones. Also, for your Saturday entertainment, make sure to check out: Mark Zuckerberg’s (alleged) embarrassing childhood Angelfire website!

Managing Your Online Reputation

As Joan Jett famously sang,”I don’t give a damn ’bout my bad reputation.

If you’re amongst the few with this mindset, there’s always room for improvement. One important aspect of social media marketing is managing your online reputation. And that consists of two basic parts:

1) Staying alert about negative feedback
2) Being ready to respond quickly and appropriately

Social Media Monitoring
There are many different tools and services that can keep you updated on what’s been said abut your business. Good ol’ Google Alerts should be the first on your list and it’s also free. Radian 6 and Monitter are a few others that come to mind.

Regular participation on your social media profiles should also help if you get any customer inquires or direct complaints. (Another reason why you shouldn’t just create profiles and let them sit there.) Remember, these are only tools that will help you be more aware of customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Crafting a response is another area to focus on.

Choosing an Appropriate Response

When I see a bad review on Yelp or Facebook, it’s always refreshing to see a meaningful reply from the business owner. Unless, it’s something like this: “Why don’t you come in here and say it to my face?”

As verified business owner, you can respond directly to reviews on Yelp, Google Places or Yahoo! Local Listings. But remember, your online reputation and future business is on the line, so it’s probably not wise to blame or threaten the customer. There are many things you can do in these cases but it’s best to take action first – especially before the complaints pile up. You can invite the customer to a more private mode of communication and help fix their problem. You can also apologize for their experience and invite them to try your products/services again. I’ve seen this happen many times with reviews reversed (from bad to good) when customers are offered a second chance.

Brand monitoring is a key function of social media marketing. Don’t let your little problems snowball into a reputation crisis that you can’t avert!