Social Media Rules of Engagement: How and When to Respond for the Most Effective Results

One of the greatest aspects of social media is how fosters immediate, real-time communication between people all across the globe. However, this benefit can quickly turn into a challenge if you are not prepared to manage this rapid-fire communication. Letting a comment sit for too long without a response could lose you a connection or even worse – a customer.Social Media Rules of Enagagement

It’s so important to be prepared to respond as quickly as possible to any comments that may come through your social media channels. It’s equal as important to respond with quality answers that feel genuine and well thought out. How can you achieve this? Here are six tips to help get you started.

Respond as quickly as possible

Foremost, it’s important to embrace the immediacy of social media and the need for quick responses. Emails and phone calls are fine to respond to within a day or so, but social media does not wait. When someone posts a comment on your Facebook fan page or tags you in a tweet, you need to acknowledge the message as soon as possible.

If not, you risk looking like you don’t care or do not have a good response (if it is a complaint or negative comment). Always be in control of the comment by issuing a response as soon as you receive the message.

Use notifications to your benefit

Social media’s need for immediate responses can be overwhelming. How are you ever to keep track of 4+ accounts and their messages? Luckily there are tools you can use to manage all of your social media accounts in one place. Some examples include Hootsuite, Socialoomph and Sendible.

These accounts will keep you apprised of any comments or messages as soon as they hit your account. This way you don’t need to be checking in to every individual account, just one. You can also choose to be alerted by email so that even if you’re not logged in to any account, you’ll still know you have a message that needs a response.

Avoid canned responses

Even the most well written canned response will still come across spammy and insincere. Take the few extra seconds it requires to individually address each message. Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your network. They will be able to tell based on your past messages if the one they received was written just for them. Make the message persona, address them by name or call out other details that are relevant only to them. It makes a big difference and goes a long way!

Offer a response to everything – the good and the bad

Both positive and negative messages will come in, there’s no way around it. You must respond to both, even if it’s uncomfortable or challenging. While it may be tempting to delete or ignore a negative comment, this is like hanging up on your customer during a service call. On the flip side, positive comments also deserve a response. Thank your contact for sharing their thoughts and let them know how much their opinion means to you.

Be professional and understanding when addressing negative comments

Since you now know that you must address negative comments, here are some pointers on how to do so. You always want to maintain your composure and professionalism when issuing a response. Even if the comment expressed criticism or anger, you do not want your own response to mimic the sentiment. Also, look for a way to try and understand the person’s complaint. Empathize with how they must feel and offer a solution or compromise that makes them feel heard.

Offer a genuine thank you for positive comments

For positive comments, don’t brush these off as not needing a response simply because they aren’t a complaint. When someone leaves a glowing review, be sure and thank them. Go one step further than just offering a “Thank you!” Ask them a follow-up question or comment on something specific that they said so that they know you took the time to read the message.

Overall, the art of responding to social media messages is quite simple. You must keep an eye out for comments as they come in and try and respond to them as close to real-time as possible. Also, you want to offer genuine, well thought out responses that show you care about your contacts and appreciate their opinion. ~Stephanie

What do’s and don’ts do you follow for effective social media engagement? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

 

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Filed under Reputation Management, Social Media

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