You may have set up your social media accounts to help get the word out there about your business, and whilst this is a very important element of all social media, it’s actually a fantastic tool for listening too.
Many big brands and businesses use social media as an extra element to their customer service arm, and although it might not be something you’re thinking of doing on that scale, it’s worth taking a look at some of the things you could be doing to manage your own customer service.
From engaging with customers to managing complaints, we’ve put together a few things to consider when you’re running the social media accounts for your business.
1. Nurture your relationships
Happy customers are the best kind of customers, and it’s always good to make them feel a valued part of the business. People who engage regularly with you on social media tend to be the people who are invested in what you’ve got going on, so it’s definitely worth spending time talking to them as it will only strengthen their relationship with your brand.
2. Keep an eye on FAQs
If you find you’re getting a lot of similar questions from people, it could be worth taking a step back and looking at whether this could be useful for the business. Perhaps you have a clothing business and you’re regularly asked if certain items come in different colours – could it be worth adding those colours to the collection? Or maybe you have a bakery, and your customers are always asking what cakes you have available each day – how about sharing an update at opening time with a menu of what’s on. These don’t have to be huge changes, but they show your customers that you’re listening to them, and it makes them feel valued.
3. Long term benefits of engagement
Engaging with your customers not only reflects well on you, but it can have a bigger impact on your business over time. Social media algorithms love engagement, so building a loyal following will lead to an increase in likes and shares, meaning more people will see the content you’re posting and more people will be likely to find your accounts.
4. Showcase how you deal with problems
Unfortunately, there will always be unhappy customers that pop up from time to time. It might not be anything you’ve done specifically, it could just be a long waiting time, or a slow delivery, but there will be negative comments. The important thing here is how you manage them. Whilst it’s perfectly reasonable to remove any offensive content, it’s good for people to see how you respond to negative comments. A simple ‘We’re sorry to hear that you had a problem, please DM us with your email address and we can look into this for you’ shows that you care about your customers’ experiences, but it also allows you to deal with the issue privately without the whole issue being broadcast to the world.
5. Social listening
Keeping an eye on your industry and competitors might seem like a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth doing. Perhaps one of your competitors is getting a lot of requests to make a particular product or provide a particular service. Is it something you could offer? Have you noticed a trend or problem within the industry that is worth getting involved in or speaking up about?
6. Working together
Your competition doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you’re up against the whole time, perhaps you’re both bakers but one of you specialises in cool cupcakes and one of you built your business around doughnuts – is there a way to work together on a delivery service or big occasion bakes? Look out for people you can collaborate with – not everyone has to be a direct competitor, and teaming up with someone else means getting your name out there to their social media followers too.
7. Manage expectations
You may find that the ‘customer is always right’ culture means that some people think they have the right to say what they want without being called out on it. It’s important to take a moment to think about a response before you reply (respond, don’t react), but if someone’s complaining that you’d sold out of date scones at 3pm, or that you didn’t have a t-shirt left in their size, it’s totally ok to open up a dialogue with them. Letting people know that you are a small business, and so it’s not realistic to expect you to have the same stock levels as a supermarket or a high street store is perfectly reasonable. This also flags up to other potential (difficult?!) customers that they can’t have what they want all the time.
8. Schedule content
Using scheduling tools to create and post content throughout the week not only helps to manage your social media output, it can also free up more time for engaging with your followers. If you’ve got posts covered for a few days, it can help to take the stress out of feeling like you constantly have to be on social media. Make a note of when your posts are going live, and then you can login once they’re posted to see who’s engaging with your page.
9. Use quality images
It’s not just the conversations you’re having on social media that speak for your brand, the pictures you post really are worth a thousand words. If you’re posting images that don’t showcase your products well, then it’s going to put people off. You don’t have to spend loads of money on a pricey professional, but it’s worth taking time to invest in your photography, even if it’s taking a couple of hours a week to put together a portfolio of images that you can roll out on the socials when you need them. Clean, bright images will always work well.
10. Go the extra mile
Are there things you can do that will help build relationships with your customers and clients? Maybe someone asked you about a recipe and you’ve just read about a new cookbook that might be of interest to them, or perhaps you’ve spotted that someone’s looking for a contact at a company that you could put them in touch with. Helping someone out without looking to make a sale is always appreciated.
You don’t have to implement all of the above, especially if you feel like they’re not relevant to your business, but we would definitely recommend spending some time listening to what those around you are saying on social media – you never know when it might come in handy!