Here's some good news: When someone has commented or messaged on your social media, you've already won. You've reached the goal of social media engagement. That person is engaging – but now you need to see if you can bring them further down the sales funnel (or at least grow the brand). It's time for your social media response. Here are the top tips to remember!
1. Acknowledge Them
Remember, social media has many elements of a conversation. In face-to-face conversations, you don't just walk up to someone and start talking about product information – you acknowledge them first. This doesn't have to take much time or room. A brief "okay" or "thanks" or "sorry to hear that, Jimmy" is usually all you need. But it's an important step that will keep your prospect engaged in the conversation.
2. Ask Follow-Up Questions
Keep them talking! If you aren't sure what they are saying, ask for a little clarification. If you know the exact answer to give, ask if they need anything else. You can also ask if they would like to see product/service alternatives that you offer, ask if they would like to look at an updated model...you get the idea. Questions will help your comments flow, and show that your brand really cares.
3. Personalize Messages
Make it clear that you know who you are talking to. Reference their original message when you write back, and include pertinent information about their unique situation. If your response is public, you shouldn't talk about any customer data from your records, but if you are using a private message then you may want to mention products or purchases they have made in the past to help understand where they are coming from. This is also a great way to show you are taking this conversation seriously.
4. Link to Your Content With the Right Answers
Most comment sections and messaging services have excellent link support these days. When possible, include a link in your response with more information. A link to your own site/blog is preferable, but you can also link to other professional web pages if appropriate. Social media users like this because it gives them an immediate source of information to consult. Brands like this because they get more visitors to their website. Everyone wins.
5. Don't Be Afraid to Schedule a Meeting
It's entirely appropriate and often convenient to simply say, "Let's set up a meeting/call to discuss this. Here is my contact information." Do this when explanations are too complicated to talk about over social media, or when you need to have an involved discussion to really understand the needs of this person.
6. Use Appropriate GIFs and Emojis
We've discussed how emojis are tricky to use in professional situations, but one of the times it's all right to use emojis and similar expressions is in the less formal social media zone. A smiley face when helping someone out is harmless and can help with engagement. Facebook and other services also support the use of GIFs if your brand is even more casual!
7. Engage in Online Conversations to Practice
If you are worried that you don't have enough experience in commenting online to respond appropriately, start practicing! There are many opportunities to hone your digital conversation skills, like reaching out to other bloggers and Instagrammers, asking questions on industry articles or forums, and starting LinkedIn discussions about the latest news. These also have additional benefits for online marketing, so it's not like you are wasting your time.
8. Always Keep it Brief and Happy
Your responses on social media should be concise and cheerful. Limit them to a line or two, and resist the temptation to dive into in-depth explanations. That's why you use links to direct people to other sources of information, or arrange a meeting. Your response on social media should be much shorter: No one wants to open up a response to their comment and find that it's a wall of text – especially if they are already displeased about something. And as always, avoid rudeness, sarcasm, etc.