Social media is no longer new. Everyone is using it. And even most small to medium-sized businesses have a social media presence. In fact, eMarketer recently estimated that 87% used social media for marketing last year, and 88% will do so this year.
So, your customers and prospects are on Facebook, Houzz, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the others. And you probably are, too.
But do you have a plan in place to handle any negative reviews, comments, or questions?
Many businesses use social media for customer service purposes. They have experts in place to answer questions and respond to a bad post from a disgruntled customer.
If you have no plan in place, there could be severe consequences. Why? Because most home improvement companies rarely have dedicated people to handle the negative postings. And even if they do, that person is likely not ready to respond quickly and appropriately.
Don’t feel bad if you have no social media plan. Most companies larger than yours are in the same boat. Research from the Social Media Marketing University found:
Fewer than half of US marketing professionals had an effective plan in place for dealing with negative posts on social sites. One-quarter did not have a plan but were working on one, and nearly one-quarter more had no plan—and no plan for a plan.
Without a documented process for how to handle the negativity, some businesses may respond in a way that could further damage a reputation – with anger and/or insults. Or a negative post could go unanswered for all the social media world to see.
How do you Create this Social Media Management Plan?
- First, make sure you have a customer-oriented employee in charge of social media.
- Second, let this person know they must respond to every post about your company. Hopefully, they can do this as quickly as possible. Some companies respond within an hour (52% of companies in that survey respond within 24 hours)
- Third, have your social media rep be as friendly as possible no matter the issue
- Fourth, make sure they do everything they can to take the conversation off-line. Offer your number to call or reach out to the unhappy customer to attempt to answer the question/issue
- Finally, don’t delete any of your social media conversations. That can escalate issues and can look as though you’re hiding something. A bad review or negative post is not the end of the world, especially if there is a calm and rational response right below it.
Being on social media is practically required in business today. Don’t ignore it or run away from it. Embrace it and join the conversation. You’ll be surprised how doing it right can generate a lot more business for your company.
And have a process in place for how to handle the bad comments and reviews. Avoid knee-jerk reactions and make every effort to solve the problem. You’ll be glad you did.