Have you ever commented on a post made by a business you’ve liked on Facebook, or tweeted a question or comment to a business you follow on Twitter? Did you get a response, or did you hear the sound of crickets? When you’re having a conversation with someone, it might be considered rude not to respond to a question, or to ignore a statement that was made. But unfortunately, more often than not, this is the reality when it comes to our use of social media for business. Whether it’s a post on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter, many of us fail to do one of the easiest things when it comes to engagement… respond.

It’s Not a One Way Street
Many of us are so focused on what we’re going to post, that we lose sight of why we’re posting in the first place. The whole reason your business is on social media should be to build relationships with new and existing customers and expand the reach of your messages. But, it’s not a one-way street. You can’t just push information out. You must put the social in social media by being present and responding when a fan or follower interacts with your posts and content.

Time is of the Essence 
As we’ve embraced social media as a marketing channel for our businesses, we’ve given customers another way to interact with us. These interactions can run the gamut from customer service issues or technical support to compliments about products or services. And when a someone interacts, they expect a response. Jay Baer, of Convince and Converts reports that 42 precent of consumers complaining on social media  expect a response within 60 minutes. And many have that same expectation at night and on weekends! Are we living up to their expectations? Sadly not so much. According to Socially Devoted statistics from Socialbakers, many businesses are not. Businesses are responding to Twitter questions a paltry 38% of the time. And response times have increased to more than six and a half hours in the first quarter of 2013. The response rate is better on Facebook at 60 percent, but response time is nearly 23 hours. As you can see from these social media response stats, there’s a ton of room for improvement.

A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way
If you’re feeling hesitant and don’t know quite how to respond, a great place to start is by using two words that seem to missing from a lot of social networks –  “thank you”. It sounds simple but you’d be amazed how well it works. If someone shares your Facebook post, say thank you. If someone retweets your content, say thank you. If someone compliments your business on Yelp, say thank you. It’s amazing how good those two words make people feel when they’ve gone out of their way to do something nice for your business.

And as we’ve mentioned, it’s important to respond to any and all customer service issues as quickly as possible. Consumers share this type of information across multiple social networks and if you’re doing everything in your power to make a situation right, consumers will appreciate it and share the experience.

Use Social to Build Stronger Relationships
In addition to saying thank you, you can build stronger relationships using social media. Many of the most successful businesses have a dedicated customer service account on Twitter. In the latest analysis of how Interbrand’s Top 100 brands perform customer service on Twitter, 30 percent of the 99 percent of brands on Twitter have a dedicated customer service account with a separate Twitter handle. This approach can keep customer complaints on a dedicated and staffed feed that won’t compete with your main feed. Another tactic is highlighting customers that have positive experiences. This allows you to give props to some of your best customers and share with others the good things happening at your business.

At the end of the day, it boils down to putting the social in social media marketing. Interact with your fans and followers and you may end up with loyal customers for life. Have any social media response tips of your own? Share away!

© 2013 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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