Most people are nice enough, but on social media, things can go south very quickly.
Anger, trolling, negative feedback, and NFSW topics are just some of the issues you need to learn to handle as your business navigates social media for customer care and marketing.
It’s clear that social media’s wide access and popularity make it an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to social media marketing, but this same power also makes it highly destructive if not managed properly.
Dealing with difficult situations requires tact and knowledge of the people behind the keyboard.
The following tips will help you deal with some of the most common social media comments that come up time and again.
Importance of Keeping Track of and Responding to Social Media Comments
We know many brands whose attitude to social media moderation is “not my circus.” Needless to say, they don’t do very well online.
There are many benefits of investing in effective social media monitoring and moderation.
First, some statistics:
- 94% in a survey by Review Trackers said that they were convinced to avoid a business by an online review.
- Statistics collected by HubSpot show that 35% of customers have used social media to shame a company after poor customer service. Of these, 30% will go to a competitor if the brand doesn’t respond.
- HubSpot also says that answering social media queries could improve brand advocacy by as much as 25%.
- 47% of consumers between the age of 18 and 34 have used social media to complain about a brand’s customer service.
- The average social media user visits 6 different social media platforms each month, according to Data Reportal.
As these statistics show, there are several good reasons why brands should keep track of and respond to as many social media comments as possible.
Here are a few more:
Boost Your Business
Comments and reactions on social media are just as important as posts, if not more.
As we have seen, you can easily lose customers to negative reviews if you don’t deal with disgruntled buyers.
Many negative comments about a brand probably don’t make it on TrustPilot, but they can still be seen by thousands of eyeballs.
On platforms like Twitter, for example, comments can gain a lot of traction on their own through likes and retweets.
Taking heed to comments can also help companies to improve their brand’s position and bring in new clients.
One in three consumers discovers new products and brands through social media, which means that they are likely to ask questions, comment about them, or express interest in some other way.
By responding to these curious social media users, we can turn them into customers early through promotions and discounts.
More importantly, responding to comments increases social media engagement and visibility, leading to better brand awareness.
Manage Your Brand’s Reputation
The public nature of social media means that, whenever we’re dealing with a negative comment or responding to a question, a lot of eyes are on us.
How we handle these comments goes a long way towards shaping brand perception and reputation.
For example, as per ReviewTrackers, customers expect a response within 7 days of posting a negative review.
It doesn’t matter whether that’s a post, a comment, a mention, or a tag — customers expect stellar customer service on social media.
Chip Bell, a customer service expert and best-selling author, says:
“In the customer’s mind, the clock starts when he or she posts a negative review, and your reputation drops with every hour you delay providing a response.”
Even when there is a genuine problem that you can’t resolve immediately, simply acknowledging the issue and being honest and apologetic about it can go a long way towards calming down angry customers.
It also builds a reputation that you care about your customers.
Above all, a strategy that involves effective resolution of comments on social media, both positive and negative, builds trust.
We already know that modern consumers such as Millennials won’t buy from you unless they trust your business.
Increase Customer Loyalty
In addition to shaping reputation, prompt engagement and resolution of issues on social media comments can create long-term customer loyalty.
It is easier and 70% cheaper to turn an existing angry customer into a repeat customer than it is to find a new one.
These customers are also more likely to refer a company or business to their friends and colleagues once they have formed a strong bond, which is an important cog in Inbound Marketing.
Identify Gaps and Issues With Your Products or Services
With so many people interacting with brands on social media and talking about it, social media is a goldmine of insights for businesses.
Getting user feedback is as easy as measuring customer sentiment and tracking conversations.
When a company is just starting out, one way to do this is to simply record the most popular comments on an Excel document.
These comments can be analyzed and compared to weight user sentiment.
Larger businesses can afford to pay for software tools that collect and map brand mentions in comments and turn them into actionable insights.
Whichever the case, tapping into social media feedback through comments is a fantastic source of business insights.
Brands can even use it in this manner to track competitors, thus gaining critical business intelligence.
How to Track Social Media Comments: Tools and Tricks
We have established that it is critical to keep track of and reply to social media comments about your business.
However, do you know how to find these comments in the first place?
As your customers are likely to be talking about your company on multiple social channels, being able to track these cross-platform is an important skill.
Here are some suggestions to implement now:
Set Up Monitoring Streams
There is an array of social media tools that social media teams can use to keep an eye out for comments and mentions relating to your brand.
This is the easiest and best option, and these tools are usually very affordable.
For example, TweetDeck creates streams and lists of social media comments from different platforms, all on one convenient dashboard.
Track Mentions, Comments, and Replies on Each Social Media Platform
Brands that don’t have the budget or need of a dedicated social media moderation tool yet can use the native features integrated in each platform.
These tools are often quite powerful, but they can take more time and effort.
For instance, Facebook has a notification tab where you can get information about all replies, tags, comments, and other activities taking place on your account.
Twitter also shows notifications whenever you have inboxes, mentions, retweets, comments, among others.
With many of these brands, you can customize which events trigger notifications to help with filtering.
Similar features extend to Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more.
Different Types of Social Media Comments and How to Respond
Once we find what customers and other social media users are saying about a brand on social media, the hard part is still to come.
In this case, finding the right thing to say, in exactly the right way, can be more difficult than expected.
There are different types of social media comments and interactions that every brand encounters at some point or the other.
For example, here are five common scenarios and how we would recommend you deal with them:
This is one of the most common comments we see.
Some will be practical questions regarding your products or services, while some might be personal or even provocative, going into company culture, personnel, values, and vision.
Whether the person behind the comment is genuinely confused or just curious, it is important to acknowledge the question and get an answer as soon as possible.
2. Angry Customers
Disgruntled customers are a regular occurrence.
They could be unhappy with a product, a service you offer, or just disappointed with your brand in general.
In this case, it is important to reply as soon as possible and let the customer know that you are working to resolve the issue.
Then, find the cause of the problem because, in many cases, angry customers are the result of repetitive issues.
3. Support inquiries
Social media has become a legitimate customer support channel for most brands today.
From shipping inquiries to requests for refunds, you can expect to handle a lot of these every day.
Sometimes, it helps to have separate customer support channels. If not, you can simply take these issues up immediately.
Just remember to be professional, polite, and helpful. Also, don’t be defensive but be quick to take responsibility and act fast.
4. Indirect/neutral comments
Some comments are just users thinking out loud.
In this case, you could choose to reply or not depending on the potential for further engagement.
5. Shares, retweets, mentions
It is great when social media users take notice of what you post and like, retweet, comment, and share your posts.
Some will also quote what you post, which is a great way to validate and grow your social media presence.
You don’t have to reply to these, but it would be nice to acknowledge the person and encourage them to continue doing that.
Best Practices When Dealing With Social Media Comments
It’s almost impossible to anticipate every social media interaction and how a brand is supposed to respond.
In many cases, just having a sound social media strategy and guidelines will keep a social media team in line with business objectives.
There are some best practices that we highly recommend when it comes to dealing with social media comments.
Always stay positive and professional
Whether you encounter customers who are joking with you, using sarcasm, or outright provocative, retain a professional attitude when handling these comments.
Develop and maintain a distinct personality
Being professional doesn’t mean lacking in character. Customers love brands with bright and memorable persona. Feel free to use memes, GIFs, among others to add warmth to your tone.
When you don’t have an immediate answer, say so. If a product has a problem that you are aware of, acknowledge it and say what you are doing about it.
Being transparent and vulnerable is better at pacifying customers and building loyalty than ignoring comments or offering promises you can’t keep.
Take things offline when necessary
Interactions that could be potentially inflammatory, sensitive, or require sharing of personal information should be moved to private chats, phone, or email support.
Always measure and report on your social media activities
Keep track of user feedback, customer sentiment, and the levels of interaction to help you improve your services.
You are now better prepared to handle sweet (and complex) social media comments.
But responding to them is part of a wider effort involving social monitoring and listening. The world’s best brands carry out manual or automated social listening as a critical part of digital marketing.
Want to know more about this? Read our blog post on the importance of social monitoring and social listening!