When I first started managing social media professionally, I asked the company I was working for what the purpose of their social media was. Among the usual responses of, "to educate" and "to increase brand awareness," they also added:
"it is to help boost [and protect] our reputation."
They understood right away that any potential clients following them would likely view their social media as an extension of their customer service.
Which is why I find is SO baffling that wineries, who literally exist under the umbrella of the hospitality industry, haven't quite grasped the fact that people expect their customer service to reach to social media.
To put it simply, if you have any form of social media, you should be using it to serve your customers.
Social media customer service increases customer loyalty and confidence in your brand. It protects your brand's reputation, and the bottom line is, your customers expect it.
Here are some hard numbers for you, in case you don’t believe me:
- A 2018 survey of US internet users shows that 67% of customers have used social media to contact customer service.
- 69% of US residents said that directly messaging a company makes them feel more confident about a brand.
- Customers who receive a brand response from their engagements are willing to spend up to 20% more on a future purchase from that business.
You can bet your sweet backside those figures are higher now. Between the pandemic forcing everyone to stay home and the important movement of Black Lives Matter putting every business’s practices under a magnifying glass, more people than ever before are vocalizing their support or boycott of businesses on social media.
Here’s the thing though, it’s really not that hard to give good customer service on social media.
Here are four ways you can start giving better customer service on your social media:
When you respond to comments, DMs, and posts you’ve been tagged in (yes, even the comments that are only an emoji), you are indicating to other users that you are responsive.
Being engaged by responding to comments and the like will also serve double-duty in triggering the algorithm to respond favorably to your content in the future: pushing it out to more people and thus increasing your potential for sales.
Literally, there is no good reason for you NOT to respond to your audience.
Prompt responses are also crucial. If someone were to call you and leave a voicemail indicating that they were having a problem, you would call them back as soon as you could, right? So why wouldn’t you respond in a timely manner on social media?
Studies show that the majority of users expect a brand to respond within one hour (or at least faster than you would respond to a phone call).
Now, that doesn’t mean that your social media manager needs to be glued to their phone 24/7, but you can and should set up auto-responders in your DMs to let your customers know when they can expect a response from you.
Monitor your mentions:
Sometimes your customer may not know you have a social media account and so will use a hashtag or location tag when they are talking about you.
Make it a regular practice to find and monitor those avenues (you can even follow hashtags on Instagram so they automatically show up in your feed!).
This will again reflect favorably on you and your company and is a proven practice in helping companies grow organically on social media.
Answer FAQ in your social media posts and stories:
Do customers ask if you are dog friendly or kid friendly all the time? Create a post which answers those questions.
Have your open hours changed? Indicate your hours in any post where you give a “visit us” or “call us” call-to-action.
Do your protocol keep changing because of the pandemic? Host a weekly instagram live (and save to IGTV) to give updates on the situation of the moment.
You can even set up an auto-responder on Facebook to answer any FAQ your customers message you with!
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Heather Daenitz is the founder and photographer of Craft & Cluster, a wine & beer photography and social media marketing company based in Santa Barbara County, California.
When she isn't photographing and lovingly yelling at you about your social media customer service, Heather can be found hanging out with her husband, two dogs, and three chickens in their backyard garden, and drinking beer made in said garden.