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August 7, 2013

4 Simple Rules to Follow When Responding to Feedback on Social Media

by James Crater

FB LOGOSo you’ve optimized all your social media profiles, come up with a bunch of great sources for content, and written a bunch of witty, sharable posts that the whole world is going to want to tell their friends about. All of this is great; nay, necessary for keeping a nice stream of social media posts going week after week.

However, these efforts only comprise half the battle. Comments, questions, likes, and other forms of action that fans/followers take on your social channels are wonderful opportunities for interaction multiplication that need to be utilized properly in order to get the most out of your social media campaign.

At Local Search Masters, the Nashville SEO company, I manage social media accounts for a variety of different kinds of businesses on many of the most important social channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Yelp. Here are a few rules that I follow when I’m responding to feedback on posts or page content.

1. Respond fast

You’ll hear this a lot when you read about social media best practices, but it’s so important that I’m going to risk a lack of originality here to ensure that this point hits home. It is very important that you respond immediately when someone comments or messages you in some fashion. There are a few reasons why this is important:

• You appear more competent.

• You increase the chances that the person will see the response during his or her current online session, thus also increasing his or her chance at responding again to continue the conversation.

• You will surprise people. People don’t always expect that a big company will care about what they have to say,  and quick responses will impress and delight them.

Set up automatic alerts to your email and make good use of push notifications on your phone so that you can respond as quickly as possible.

2. Respond personally

Do your best to sound like a person, not just some cog in a boring, corporate machine. Address the person by name and make sure to tag them in your response (if the particular channel allows it) so that they notice it in their notifications. Use casual vocabulary and phrasing that your target market will relate to. Further, do your best to give the most direct response possible to questions and comments. Citing company policy or providing vague responses can frustrate followers when they’re looking for specific data. And remember: if they’re asking questions, it means they’re probably interested in what you have to offer, so don’t miss out on a warm lead.

3. Build on the interaction

You’ve most likely done something right if you’re getting a lot of comments on your social posts. Don’t let a good thing go to waste! Use the interest that you’ve tapped to keep the conversation going so that you stay top of mind with your fans (who, I’ll remind you, are usually all potential customers) for as long as possible (and reasonable). A few helpful tips for continuing the conversation:

• As I mentioned before, tag the person if possible to make sure that they know that you responded to them directly. On Facebook you can do this by typing an @ and then beginning to type his or her name.

• Ask a question. Replying to someone’s comment is great, but the person will feel more of an obligation to respond if you include a question in there vs. if you just make a statement.

• Reference some of your resources. Often people will ask a question or make a comment that can be addressed by content that you have on your website. Give a brief answer in your own words but also make sure to link them to more information should they need it.

• Move to a related topic. Feel the fire dying down on the current conversation? Bring up something else that might interest the person based on what they’ve already told or asked you.

4. Don’t instantly delete negative comments

Boromir 3I’ve dealt with some negative feedback on a few occasions, although, in my defense, it was not generated by something related at all to the company’s Internet marketing efforts (of course). Often customers will hop on Facebook or a review site like Yelp or Google Local to vent their frustration if they feel that the services that they’ve received were subpar. If this happens, respond with an apology immediately and be sure to let them (and all your other fans watching the conversation) know that you’ll be contacting them to resolve the issue. Later, if the customer is satisfied, you can ask their permission to remove the comment. (On Facebook, you can also just avoid this situation entirely by changing your settings to require posts to have your permission before making it to your public wall). The panicked response of instant deletion can cause your problems to multiply; as that person could post again even angrier that you’ve now disregarded his or her feedback.

I actually happened to write a post somewhat recently that goes into this issue in more detail, so if you’ve been running into problems recently, be sure to check it out here. Feedback is welcome, appreciated, and encouraged.

If you’ve got any helpful rules of your own that you’d like to share or would like for me to expand on any of these points, please let me know in the comments.

James Crater- Digital Marketing Content Manager at Local Search Masters

With experience in writing for the Vanderbilt Hustler student newspaper as well as multiple online journals, James has written and managed content in various social media for multiple national firms.

James on Google+

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