With the maturation of social media, it’s time to reexamine how organizations engage with their customers. Initially, many joined every social media outlet under the sun with a “just in case” and “don’t want to get left out” attitude. It’s time to be more discerning now, since data clearly show where your customers are talking about and with you.

 

Remember just like email, phone, your packaging, and how your product performs, social media is part of your customer’s overall experience. Ignore it at your peril.

If a customer mentions you, promptly respond using the same channel. Otherwise, they’re likely to feel ignored, which is just as bad as a poor response to a sub-optimal experience. If it was a positive experience, they’re telling their friends about and recommending you, and the least you can do is thank them (for those who love you the most, consider something more, just for them). If they’re unhappy, quick resolution that actually addresses their concerns is the way to go. If you can’t address fully their comment using that channel, provide a way for them to reach out to you in greater depth, such as an email or phone number. They’re going to expect that when they reach out in a deeper way, the person they talk with will know of their initial comment, so immediately communicate that with your team internally. Your customers don’t care about your internal organizational structure or who is responsible for what. They just know they’re dealing with you, the brand.

And of course, consider what it is your customers are really saying or asking about, and address those needs. Boilerplate responses get boilerplate emotions: bland and devoid of story-telling. If you can’t really care about your customer’s needs or feelings, stay off social media. In fact, consider a different line of work.

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Tourists stroll past a very pink shop along New Orleans’ Canal Street.