Social Media Customer Care Guide:
How To Use Social Media To Communicate With Customers
Ah, social media; as a business, you have to love it. The colossal digital megaphone, letting you speak directly into the ears of over 4.6 billion users. In business terms, this is a totally new galaxy of customer comms, and in broad strokes, it’s a phenomenal way of contacting and connecting with your tribe. But to make customer care a competitive difference-maker, and communicate with customers effectively on social, you’ve got to hit it just right. So, how should businesses use social media to communicate with customers?
In this article, we’ll be covering:
- Getting your content & voice right
- The right platforms and timely responses
- Giving brand advocates a time to shine
- Brainy social media communication strategies
- Supercharging select messages with paid social
- How to use social media to communicate with customers as a business
If your brand has social media profiles, you are absolutely going to have to perform customer service on social media.
There isn’t a way to get around it.
Social Media Specialist
Nail down your content and voice when you communicate with customers
You’ve probably heard it once, heard it a thousand times: ‘content is king’. There’s a reason that the adage gets trotted out so often – it’s because it’s true. The very first step for a business using social media to communicating with its customers is to have them engage with you – and for people to engage with you, you have to put out stuff – posts, videos, images, updates, competitions – that your target audience is feeling.
In other words, they have to pick up on the vibe you’re pulling down. And pulling it off in a natural, organic way is a little more tricky than it may at first sound.
The first thing to say about your content is that it has to be fairly regular. A couple of posts a week is a bare minimum standard you should be aiming for. You know how Oddjob never says a single word, all the way through Goldfinger? Can you imagine how hard it would be for his customers (if he had any) to respond, react and communicate with him? So in order to encourage your customers to communicate with you, it’s important to be vocal across social.
Be genuine in the posts you put out on your social accounts; don’t make it all business, business, business. If you can post some more natural content – a ‘meet the team’ video, maybe, or reactions to the latest Stranger Things – your customers will pick up on your brand personality, and they’ll develop a deeper connection with you.
The other plus point of regular and killer organic content is that it’ll build up your brand awareness and increase your presence. This isn’t strictly related to communicating with customers on social, but hey, we’re guessing the more potential customers who know you and what you’re about, the better, right?
Find out how our Brain-powered content team can help you become king of your industry hill.
But putting out content before the eyes of the world is only stage one. Once it’s out, and getting some good engagement, don’t leave people’s comments and reactions hanging like the bad smell of Slimer in Ghostbusters: respond to them!
Even if it’s not all business; when people engage with your content, it’s good SM practice and solid business sense to come back to them. That might mean reacting with a heart emoji to a comment, retweeting a customer who tags your latest video, or even just saying ‘hey’ when a user mentions you. Users and customers will respect that you took the time to hit them back, you’ll create the impression that you’re an easy company to get in touch with, and people will sense your brand’s warmth and authenticity.
When drawing up text for your interactions, stick to your brand voice, and keep your tone personal – you definitely don’t want to come over all officious and musty, Miss Trunchbull-style. Tag the original poster’s name where appropriate, and consider signing off with your (or your staff’s) actual name, or initials.
Part of getting your social media output right is owning your messaging pillars. Make sure your marketing narrative stays consistent, and whatever your thing is, aim to own it, as well as the language around it.
This is where you can really put hashtags into bat for your brand. Depending on the platform, you definitely want to take ownership of #yourcompanyname, as well as #yourtagline, if you have one.
For instance, if you keyed #supermariogalaxy into any social search bar, you’d know exactly what kind of content you’d be seeing, and which company would likely be dominating the space, right?
In time, customers will start to notice these hashtags and actively use them, and this will help you route queries and concerns, and deal with complaints, questions, shoutouts and enquiries as effectively as possible.
Be in the right social media places, and communicate in good time
It was Buzz Aldrin, gold-plated NASA Hall-of-Famer and one of the original moonwalkers (not that kind) who said, “timing has always been a key element in my life. I have been blessed to be in the right place at the right time.”
Now, we’re not saying you need to fly to the moon to head up your social media customer communications, but if you can position your brand on the correct social platforms, you’ll find your accounts blessed with intergalactic engagement levels.
What do we mean by being on the right platforms? Well, think about your ideal customer and your target demographic, and figure out which social media sites tend to be more popular among those people.
For instance, let’s say you’re releasing a product range looking to leverage the Baby Yoda trend, from The Mandalorian series. That’s a relatively recent thing, and the show found a significant portion of its viewership coming from the under 30s – especially given that it was released exclusively via streaming.
OK, so you’ll want to primarily target Gen-Z and Millenials. That means directing the lion’s share of your budget and energy at Snapchat, TikTok and Insta, since that’s where your target crowd spends most of its social media scrolling time.
Once you’re across the right platforms, think about the specific tools best-suited to individual customer interactions. Are you looking at a complaint that’d be better dealt with via direct messaging? Are public posts the way to go for tagging brand advocates? Should you reply to a user’s comment as part of a thread, or in the main comment channel? Getting the right answers to these kinds of questions will ensure your brand is easy for customers to communicate with, and that you’re always active where they need you to be.
Moreover, when you’re communicating with customers on social media, you’ve got to make it a priority to get back to them in a prompt fashion.
Timing. Is. Everything. We can’t stress it enough.
Just look at the stats. An eyebrow-raising 79% of customers expect a substantive response to a social media post within one hour. One hour! But in actuality, it takes a day, and often a lot longer, for 63% of social media comms to be dealt with. To make matters worse, 78% of customers – practically four-fifths – judge the company’s response not to be of satisfactory quality.
This is a massive area of opportunity for your business to gain a competitive edge. Think of all that time, when all those customers are left hanging, searching out alternative goods or service providers.
When it comes to using social media to communicate with customers, you have to go like The Flash – and then some.
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We get it, overseeing your company socials at the same time as running day-to-day operations can feel like you’re trying to push a mountain – uphill. But with our award-winning and ROI-generation social advertising services, things could look very different.
Let your social media champions speak for you
Social proof, the idea that people scope out the reactions of people who are just like them before they make a purchasing decision, is a hugely powerful marketing psychology phenomena, and a real ace in the hole for your business.
In that sense, people don’t buy from companies – they buy from other customers. So using the glowing positivity and all-round good vibes coming from your previous customers is an insider social media communication strategy not to be sniffed at.
We already talked about the importance of organic content, but what a lot of marketers don’t initially realise is you can spin positive reviews and upbeat reactions into high-engagement posts.
You could post a few quotes from some of your most satisfied customers, set up a hashtag to collect people’s photos of your product in action, or even contact happy clients to see if they’d be interested in doing a short interview, waxing lyrical about all the benefits your company has made possible.
Whatever shape the post takes, speaking to your customers indirectly – via other, satisfied customers – is a super rewarding way to have meaningful, positive interactions with them.
If you have a group of mega-vocal, die-hard followers and fans (what we in the business call brand advocates), you should look to use them as part of your communication strategy.
We’re not saying put them on retainer and have them directly deal with customer enquiries – it’s more subtle than that. Rather, think about some ways you can partner with them, or how you can increase their reach, to maximise the marketing potential of all that good energy they’re putting out… a little like how Cyclops, Wolverine and Professor X all rep for the X-Men name and franchise, everywhere they go.
People who convey positivity are generally easier to engage with, and the same can be said for brands. Having a brand advocate is an easy way to maintain whatever kind of energy you want to display across all of your channels. This keeps your messaging consistent, engages more customers and ultimately gets you a bunch of brownie points.
Content Production Manager
One potential shortcut to putting in the time and work needed to organically build brand advocates is to go the influencer route. It’ll require a little capital, but if you can get a big name in your industry space to endorse you, that’ll act like social proof on steroids.
If you’re aware of the top influencers and voices in your space, the chances are your audience are too, and they’ll probably listen in when that person has something to say.
Be more Brainy
Everything we’ve been through so far will stand you in excellent stead to start facilitating happier, more engaged customer communications on social media.
If you want to take things to the next level of awesomeness, it’s time to leverage some dyed-in-the-wool SMM marketing smarts. It’s time to fill out your socials with expertise, attention to detail and insider tricks of the trade. It’s time to be Brainy.
Developing some deep customer persona cards
You’ve got to know your audience and play to the room. Taking the time to really understand your ideal buyers, including their deep desires, motivations, pain points and purchase barriers, will give you an insight into how to connect with them best, and what talking points to hit.
Weave a consistent messaging tapestry
Theoretically, every move you make on social media should be pulling towards some greater marketing goal, so it’s essential to properly crystallise what exactly is your advertising endgame. Work out your KPIs, illuminate the best paths forward, and stick to them religiously as you communicate with your audience.
Checking in with what people are responding to best is another tried and true way of creating a resilient, future-proof comms strategy. Don’t simply send communications out into the digital abyss and hope they find their mark; be like Hawkeye. Take the time to aim each shot, check how it lands and if there’s room for improvement, react.
Use analytics & social media monitoring
If you’re keeping casual tabs on your social accounts, then you’re already doing the basics of social listening. But to kick into a higher gear, you’ll want to invest in some more granular, finely-tuned social media monitoring practices: and that means analytics and data. This will probably involve some expenditure on specialised software, and quite a bit more time to get into the real nitty gritty, but it’ll give you a Superman-style, x-ray vision look at the big picture of your social media interactions.
Set up a dedicated customer service & support account
If you really want to join the big leagues, you should aim to set up social accounts dedicated specifically to dealing with customer complaints, enquiries and questions. This will give your audience a clear destination when they need to get in touch, and can help keep the more individual-centric traffic away from your main accounts.
Each one of the above points is, in and of itself, a big job – but when you hear a social media nugget of voodoo that you’re not sure how to pull off, or whether you even have the resources to do it, have faith that there’s a Brain for that.
Get in touch now for a free consultation, and let’s chat about how you can get The Brains on board to truly supercharge your client comms.
Consider paid social media
The majority of your customer communications, across all social media platforms, should be organic. Putting it simply, there’s just no substitute for that authenticity, realness and personal touch. Your customers will pick up on it immediately and it’ll shine through all of your interactions.
But in a full-flavoured smorgasbord of social media communications, it’s worth leaving a little room for paid social.
Paid social media allows you to reach a vastly wider audience than if you keep it purely organic, and you’ll extend your reach to encompass entirely new horizons. Plus, let’s face it: the more people you engage, the more communications you can have, and with more comms, you enable a greater volume of rewarding interactions and potential conversions.
If there’s a message you want to fly high up the flagpole, and make sure everybody (and their guinea pig) sees it – a product launch, say, or some positive reviews, or collaborative content with a brand advocate, like we talked about earlier – it’s worth doubling down, and backing that post with some capital.
By boosting a post, you turn the content of that message from one more twig floating down the river of someone’s social feed, to a literal, unignorable Viking warship, with coloured shields and a sweet-looking dragon masthead to boot.
And everyone loves a Viking warship, right?
Plugging into the extra pulling power of paid social allows you to control the narrative of customer communications, in a way that’s simply not possible with organic, so if you can justify the capital it’ll take to get it up and running, it’ll start paying dividends in pretty short order.
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