Engaging with existing and prospective clients via social media is important for building relationships, brand development & exposure and business expansion.
Below are 10 useful tips for effective social engagement between your company and your network.
1. Follow up on questions or comments
Go above-and-beyond by answering questions or responding to comments by people in your company’s network. If someone has taken the time to respond to a status update or a tweet, then it’s important you take the time to respond to their query or comment. Alternatively, you can ‘like’ a person’s comment on Facebook, provided it’s not a question or complaint. However you should aim to reply to every comment.
2. Keep responses professional
When responding to a client or potential client ensure your tone is professional- after all you are representing your company. Responding to a question about your company’s trading hours during a holiday period with “no mate our offices will be closed during Christmas” can be better written as “Thank-you for your question John, we will be closed between the 24th of December and the 3rd of January.”
3. Be human
Replying on behalf of your business or the company you work for is one thing, but it’s important you go that one step further and sign off your response with your first name. This allows for the person on the other end to develop a personal connection with the brand- even if they don’t personally deal with you in the future.
4. Respond quickly
Speedy responses to questions asked by followers on any of the social networking sites ensures the individual receives any information to a question they’ve asked quickly. As a general rule any questions or comments should be responded to on the same day they are asked. This obviously doesn’t apply if the comment was made after business hours, in which case it should be responded to the next day.
5. Don’t censor negative comments
Negative comments can be a good way to identify any defects or to improve upon a certain process. When responding to these comments, correct any misunderstandings, apologise for any mistakes and where possible, point them to helpful information or resources which will rectify the problem. Never pick a fight with a person online- it will only lead to PR carnage.
6. Be proactive when there are issues
If your website has gone down, or your phone lines aren’t working, or if there are any other issues involving your company, reach out to your network with a simple status update on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter. This will help to keep your network informed on what’s going on and will prevent truckloads of complaints rolling in.
7. Be consistent
Consistency is key- it’s vital that all questions posted by a client or potential client are answered- not just some. This not only ensures constant engagement with your company’s network, but it allows clients and prospective clients to feel comfortable engaging with your company via social media. Remember to treat each person who leaves a comment in the same way as the last person.
8. Address the name behind the face
Just because you’re engaging with your network online, it doesn’t mean you can’t personalise the way you respond to their questions or comments. If you’re engaging with an individual on Facebook or LinkedIn, type ‘@’ before writing their name, this will tag them in your response. If you’re engaging via Twitter, hit reply and it will automatically insert ‘@’ allowing you to respond directly to their Twitter handle. Even when following the above concept, it’s important you address each person by name in your response. For example on Twitter: @JohnSmith: “Hi John, thank-you for your question. We’re currently only hiring temporary positions for this role. You can check out our website for other job opportunities. Have a good day! Bianca”.
9. Give thanks
Even if a client is making a complaint, such as your website not working or they’ve had issues with a certain product or service you offer, give them credit for uncovering an issue. Embracing social feedback via a simple “thank-you” will help to put your company in the good books with your client, even if they’ve only engaged to make a complaint.
10. Celebrate those who celebrate you
Any positive feedback from clients on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn should be celebrated and what better way to celebrate than giving something back. If your positive feedback comes through a tweet- why not re-tweet it, if it’s through Facebook then why not quote the comment and post it as a status. It will show that you genuinely care about your clients and what they have to say.