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The illusion that most businesses are kicking social media butt can be shattered pretty quickly. They might have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram icons on their website, but when you click through you see they haven’t posted for a month or more. Or they have some great pictures and videos and lots of up-to-date content, but you send a message or post a comment and they never get back to you.

I’ve spoken before about social media for business, and how a weak social media account can end up damaging a business more than supporting it. A previous blog explains how the right set-up, strategic posting and use of correct hashtags and Facebook Advertising can all add up to social media that promotes your benefits and professionalism. But there’s more to social media success than what you’re putting out there.

Let me explain with an example.

How not to do it

I recently left a comment on a business’s tweet, enquiring about the service they were advertising. It was a London business I knew pretty well from my years in the Smoke. But I didn’t know they offered this service they were posting about and was interested to learn more. It seemed right up my street.

I waited for them to get back to me… and waited. A week later and still no reply. In the end, I sent an email, they duly apologised and said someone would be in touch. Whoever someone was, they didn’t. How long would you wait? Would you have even sent the chase email or simply shopped elsewhere?

The point is, they lost out on potential business and my view of them as a company has suffered. They might not give two hoots, which is fair enough, but most of us want more customers, don’t we?

It’s not just about posting

Do you handle your business’s social media in-house, or do you outsource it to a social media agency? Whoever is managing the accounts for you shouldn’t just be posting content. As good as they might be at researching and posting, if they’re not monitoring and responding promptly to notifications and messages, you’re losing out on enquiries and leads.

The beauty of social media is that it’s a communication platform, allowing a dialogue to exist between the customer and you. This gives the customer a sense that you are relatable and trustworthy, rather than a faceless company, a huge advantage small-to-medium sized businesses have over the big boys. Yes, the telephone is still there of course but every day my team sees how many people prefer to type than talk.

Engaging with customers or potential customers also lets you know what they want, how you might improve your services or products, and how you can best direct them to a course of action – please call us / email / send us your number and we’ll call you!

You snooze you lose

When it comes to social media management, there’s no such thing as better late than never. If you don’t reply quickly your competitors could get there ahead of you. Consumers can be fickle in this digital age. One of my friends loved her hairdresser. Been going there for years. Until she tried to book an appointment over Facebook, that is. No response for days and when it came it wasn’t exactly the answer she wanted. A junior had been given admin access and was not as polite as the senior staff, put it that way. My friend saw an offer for another salon and jumped ship. Loyalty is not what it once was.

It seems not all marketing agencies practice 24/7 social media management, which baffles me. It’s a cornerstone of the social media work Key 3 Media does for our clients. Yes, it might mean we are working on Christmas Day, or 11pm on a Saturday, but that is an essential part of the service we provide. If a potential customer enquires on a Friday night, they won’t want to wait till Monday morning. People are on social media at all times of the day, all days of the week, and unfortunately expect businesses to be, too.

The power of a responsive service

Again, so many people, especially younger people, prefer to Facebook Message or tweet a business rather than pick up the phone or even email some generic info@ address. Sometimes we can’t blame them for this choice. It puts the onus on us, the business, to respond, rather than being stuck on hold indefinitely, for example. And we all know how easy it is for emails to get lost in a sea of other emails. People messaging via social media can see when the company has seen their message. So none of the old “I didn’t receive your email” excuses. Some people of course will pressure a company to reply by posting publicly. A negative post, review or comment with no reply doesn’t look great….

You might not enjoy that the customer has this kind of leverage, but this is the reality of customer service today. As such, it lies within the responsibility of a good social media manager. Timely and consistently polite social media management will help your business look more professional and deal with enquiries more efficiently.

In all likelihood, whoever is managing your social media accounts knows that it’s not just about posting now and then, when they’ve got a minute. It’s about providing a 24/7, two-way service. It not only positions your company as one that cares what its customers and potential customers have to say but it ultimately means not losing out on huge chunks of business!

 

social media midlands

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