One of the most critical components of using social media as a customer service tool is "social media monitoring." As more customers turn to social media for asking questions and airing complaints, businesses need to stay tuned into their channels so that they can respond promptly.
Why is social media monitoring so essential? Businesses that don’t watch their social media accounts for interactions will leave their customers feeling ignored and unhappy with their brand. Consider these statistics compiled by GoGlobe via SocialMediaToday:
- One in three social media users prefers to get customer service assistance via social media rather than telephone or email.
- Approximately 67 percent of consumers use social media networks to seek resolutions to problems with a brand.
- Sixty percent of customers who complain via social media expect the brand to respond within an hour.
- The cost to address customer issues over social media is just 1/6th of what it costs to handle problems through a call center.
Performing social media monitoring optimally involves two activities:
- Monitoring your social media accounts for comments, messages, and tags (when people mention and link to your account in their posts).
- Monitoring social platforms for posts that indicate someone might benefit from what your business offers.
1. Monitoring Your Social Media Accounts
To respond to your followers on social media, you first have to set the precedent of faithfully watching for customer comments, messages, and incidents when they tag your business.
As I’ve described in a past post, How to Up Your Customer Service Game With Social Media, a written guide that sets expectations about delivering customer service via social media can help you engage with customers consistently.
'Guidelines help ensure everyone understands expectations about response times, navigating negative feedback, directing difficult questions to the proper resources, tone of voice, terminology, and more. It's not enough to have verbal guidelines; document them and share them with everyone who will be responsible for monitoring your social media channels.'
Social media tools like the ones I’ve listed below can help make monitoring more manageable:
2. Monitoring Social Platforms for Opportunities
Watching social platforms beyond your own accounts requires a little detective work. Ways to look for opportunities to introduce your brand and help potential customers include:
Set up Google Alerts on keywords and phrases relevant to you and your industry. According to Joshua Hardwick at Ahrefs, “Tracking mentions related to your business or brand can unveil opportunities for link building, brand building, collaborations, and more.”
Use the search function on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to look for product and industry hashtags in posts by users who might have an interest in what your business offers or who are having issues with your competitors. Mining conversations centered on hashtags can uncover opportunities to answer questions and attract new customers.
A Watchful Eye on Competitors’ Social Media Accounts
I don't advise invading your competitors' online space by replying to their customers' comments or otherwise bulldozing your way into their conversations. However, visiting their social media pages may help you glean insight into what customers' needs aren't being met and how you can adapt your products and services to satisfy those wants and needs.
Depending on the situations you observe, you might also discover opportunities to reach out to competitors' dissatisfied customers to introduce yourself. Exercise caution, though; being too pushy or appearing stalker-ish can hurt rather than help your brand.
Position Your Brand for Success
Social media has become an undeniable marketing and customer service necessity for businesses in nearly every industry. Sadly, many brands still have neither leveraged their potential nor given it the attention it needs to gain a competitive advantage and strengthen customer loyalty. If you're struggling to create and maintain an active, responsive social media presence, let’s talk. The #Strella team can help you put your brand’s best foot forward and deliver an exceptional customer experience.