Listen In On Social Media Chatter to Maintain Your Online Reputation
A version of this article first appeared in Chauffeur Driven magazine in April 2014.
Having a great marketing plan in place with efforts across many platforms that attract and delight both your perspective and current clients is a must for your business. And social media should be a critical component of that marketing plan.
These days, consumers are quick to take to social media to voice both their satisfaction and their frustration with companies, brands or products. All the marketing efforts in the world don't amount to anything if you have unhappy customers. And once that frustration is vented online, it can quickly escalate out of control.
For example, maybe your customers are stuck waiting in line for a long time due to a glitch in your computer system that prevents the point-of-sale from operating correctly. Impatient customers become unhappy customers.
Maybe the product your customer ordered from your website did not arrive as expected. A broken, damaged or late-arriving package could mean losing future revenue.
Or worse, a customer loses it in front of others and another videos it and posts it online. The video circulates and your company is embarrassed.
Comments about these or other similar situations could influence other potential customers' feelings about your business. All of which could result in you losing trust with your client base, or worse, losing future clients.
The way you handle situations like these begins and ends with your marketing efforts, with the customer service element wound tightly around them. When things inevitably go wrong and clients take to the Internet, how do you find out what's being said about you and your business?
Monitoring your social media presence is the way to get the low-down on what your clients and customers are saying about you online. Known as "listening", social media monitoring allows a company to gather information and answer pertinent questions about your services, industry-related requests or even diffuse an angry customer.
Even more important are the comments a company gets that can contain complaints orfeedback about your service. It's important to recognize and resolve issues in a timely and constructive manner. Remember, any and all complaints should be considered a gift to improve your service for all customers. It's not easy to hear, but it can be corrected if you handle it the right way quickly.
3 Solid Ways to Monitor Your Social Media Presence
1. Check your social media platforms every day.
If not you, then someone who is skilled in handling customer complaints and interacting with folks who want to sound off. Think of this as an essential piece of your marketing. Look for comments, direct post, messages, mentions, and replies. Did your customer let you know that their customer service failed them? This is a great chance to interact and engage in a positive manner. You can let the customer and your audience know you are ready to make it right and turn their negative experience into a positive one.
2. Check out how your company name is showing up on the review sites regularly.
Social sites like Angie's list, Google+, and Yelp are popular online sites for leaving reviews. Even Facebook comments can be a breeding ground for reviews. The good news is that a great review will improve your business. The bad news here is that you can't have a bad review taken down in most cases. In many instances, however, you can respond with solutions in your online marketing efforts.
3. Use online analytics programs to monitor your brand.
Think about either a free analytics program or software solution that will make it easy for you to find your name on the Internet and take action. Platforms like HootSuite, HubSpot Social Monitoring or even like Google Alerts are great tools for monitoring when and how people are talking about your brand online.
A solid inbound marketing plan is just one component of the profitable and growing company. You're wasting good money if you don't back it up with proper maintenance and a transparent approach to handling failures, whether these are business or customer-service related issues.
Whatever the challenge is, your reputation depends on listening to social media chatter.