This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Global Response. All opinions are 100% mine.
There is no doubt that consumer buying habits are influenced by social media. Way back in 2011, Harvard Business School conducted a study which found that online customer reviews definitely lend a boost to business. According to the report, a one star increase in a Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. Interestingly, the study focused on online reviews conducted on Yelp.com, which is comprised of feedback from people everywhere. If the opinion of “strangers” has this much impact on your business, imagine what the thoughts of your peers in the various social networks can do!
Social media is all about peer impressions. When a Facebook “friend”, for instance, says something positive about a product or service, you are more likely to check it out. Conversely, if they say something negative, you will probably take their comments into serious consideration. This forms the thesis as to why monitoring what is being said about your business on social media is crucial. It is especially important to monitor what comments and social media feedback are being posted on your own social networks.
Monitoring Social Media Feedback
Prior to setting up your business on the various social networks, you should develop a monitoring strategy as part of your entire social media strategy.
The first thing you will have to do is to decide if you want to manage your site in-house or outsource this task.
If you are going to monitor your social media sites in-house, here are a few options to consider:
- Designate a specific person or team to monitor social sites. They must be willing to not only keep tabs on all comments and social media feedback, but also respond. This is a 365 day a year, 24/7 job.
- It is a best practice that Staff have the sites installed on their mobile devices so that they can review comments and respond from anywhere at any time when necessary.
- Depending on how “active” you plan to be on your social sites, you may want to consider specialized social media tools to help you. The infographic at the end of this blog post does an excellent job of introducing some of the most popular options currently available.
- There are also specialized software options to consider. One example with comprehensive features is Sysomos. As with any software, it is important to thoroughly research all your options so you can make an informed decision as to which platform will work best for you.
If you do not have the manpower or expertise to monitor your social media in-house, there are companies who can do this for you. Outsourcing this function to a specialized outside company such as Global Response can help ease the burden and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Outsourced providers can monitor and respond to comments, provide you with regular reports and alert you if there is something that needs your personal, immediate attention.
Feedback Response Strategies
How and when you respond to comments is important. A timely response is imperative. Do not let something sit out there for days. Responding quickly demonstrates that you feel what your customers have to say is important. And, although you may have several different in-house staff or an outsourced provider responding for you, be sure to train them to use a consistent voice and brand response. Your social media managers are no different than your front line staff: They need to be prepared to respond to anything and everything.
Promptly respond to both positive and negative social media feedback. Let’s briefly examine a few response strategies:
Responding To Positive Feedback:
- Be sure to “thank” the customer for their kind words; let them know you appreciate their feedback and look forward to continuing to serve them.
- Consider asking if you may share their feedback in social media or use it as a testimonial on your website and/or marketing materials.
- Place them on the list to attend any customer appreciation events or special sales you may conduct.
Responding To Negative Feedback:
- Always remain positive and do not get defensive.
- Respond as quickly as possible, but do not do so out of anger. Cool down first and take a deep breath!
- Reach out and let them now you take their concerns seriously and would like to discuss further via telephone or in person. Sometimes this diffuses the situation and also shows that you do care about how they feel.
- Listen and learn – perhaps the person complaining does have a legitimate reason! This can provide you with valuable insight into your offerings and customer service. If there truly is a weakness, now you know and can address it.
- Make amends – ask the customer what it is you can do to make it right. If their request is reasonable, then do it.
All social media feedback, good and bad, can help you better understand your products or services. If followers continually compliment or complain about a particular product, service or employee, use what they say to help guide your business strategy. Think of social media as your own “focus group”. Companies pay a lot of money to gather insights from traditional focus groups. Social media puts one right in the palm of your hands! Used wisely, social media can become a very powerful marketing tool for your business.
How does your company approach social media monitoring? What tools do you recommend? Do you prefer an in-house or outsourced approach?
Infographic Source: KISSmetrics Web Analytics