Social media is a great medium for connecting to your customer base in ways you’ve never connected with them before. But because it’s a two-way medium–something that many businesses aren’t used to–many businesses are scared off by the threat of negative feedback.
The truth is, negative feedback is a fact of life on social media. Some businesses will get it regularly, others will never get it at all, and most will only see a negative comment every few months or so, if that. In any case, participating in the conversation is essential, and you shouldn’t let the threat of negative feedback keep you from getting online and experiencing the many benefits of social media.
Here are 5 keys to successfully monitoring social media:
- Start with strategy: The first key to monitoring social media is having a strategy in place. Countless brands have gotten themselves in trouble because they haven’t taken the time and sat down to address who they’re trying to reach, why they’re trying to reach them, and how they’re going to do it. This will help you make sure you know why you’re on social media, and also help keep you out of sticky situations stemming from misstepping your boundaries.
- Establish rules of engagement: Next, sit down and take the time to establish rules of engagement. More likely than not, the person running your social media isn’t the primary decision-maker in your organization. If there’s a positive comment, do you want your social media manager to respond? What about a negative or neutral comment? Decide who your contact should be so that your social media manager has someone to go to if things go south.
- Draft a contingency plan: If rules of engagement tell you who to contact, a contingency plan tells you how to respond; it’s essentially a strategy for handling negative interactions on social media. What will your respond look like when you get a negative comment? Should you escalate the comment immediately, or let it stew for a while? With a strategy, rules of engagement, and contingency plan in place, you’ll have all the groundwork that you need set so you can get to posting.
- Set a schedule: Almost half of all consumers on social media expect a response to their questions or comments within 60 minutes. We’ll go ahead and exempt the wee hours of the night from this expectation, but that still means you need to be prepared to respond quickly. Even if you don’t want to set your response time at an hour, you should still set a standard response time so you have something to measure performance against. If you set your response window for two hours, you can easily set the expectation that your managers need to respond within that time frame.
- Have the systems in place to execute: Finally, with this foundation laid, you need to make sure you have the systems in place to execute. For a business with ten-thousand followers, one employee probably won’t be able to handle all of the responses. The same may not be true for a business with five-hundred followers. No matter what size your business is, make sure your social media department has all of the necessary resources and systems in place to execute everything you’ve set down here.
No one wants to deal with negative comments on social media, but unfortunately, when you create a social media account you need to be prepared to respond to the occasional bad feedback. Luckily, doing so is actually much easier than you might think so long as you have the proper systems in place.
In fact, negative feedback on social media can actually be an opportunity for a positive customer interaction. If you can show your customers that you care enough to respond quickly and solve the problem, you can actually turn negative feedback into a positive data point about your brand. But of course, you can’t do any of that without a proper plan.
Successfully monitoring social media is easy with the right steps in place. Once you’ve set a foundation, from there, it really should be smooth sailing.