“Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men!”
There is a point to that lyric I am getting to, and it is this.
A big turn off for fans/ followers/ new & old customers is when people post to a brand(either a question or comment) that’s either negative or positive and their post goes, unnoticed, unanswered and ignored. Or it’s answered but it’s a week or so later, which is just too late.
In real life, face to face conversations (yes, these still exist) when someone asks you something your respond and quickly, and the same principle should apply to social media. Businesses/ brands on social media are social businesses and a base factor of this is being social, and what that means is engaging and interacting both ways (to and with your audience, and regularly).
I cannot stress enough how important fan engagement is, and the first step to successful fan engagement (which equals a successful business) is through listening. The ability of a brand to listen and respond accordingly to feedback from followers has the ability to greatly influence their success online. Not only listening to what your followers have to say, giving your followers a response and interacting with them makes them feel appreciated and allow for a greater insight into their motivations, minds and wants.
Here are a few ways you can illustrate to your audience that you ARE listening:
1. Respond – and quickly!
All inquiries/feedback/ general comments should be responded to (unless if a spam of course) and preferably within 2hrs of posting (at the most).
A prompt response keeps customers happy as they feel their opinions are important to your business, it keeps negativity and bay and puts out any fires before they can start. If you respond to a comment quickly, especially negative comments it will be easier to resolve the issue with the customer then ignore then and disappoint them more. A prompt response also demonstrates to other followers the type of customer service you provide which is something customers will always consider before making a purchase. So pay attention to what people are saying and respond to it because if ignored there can be ugly consequences.
2. Show interest by asking questions:
Rather than sitting around refreshing your Facebook over and over again waiting for customer to make a comment, get the conversation going yourself. Get to know your fans better by asking them questions! These questions can be product related, for example “What is your favorite colour Samsonite suitcase?” Or something else along the lines of “Tell us your best holiday memory?” These questions don’t necessarily have to relate back to your brand but they of course need to be appropriate.
These questions can help you gauge the interests of your fans as well as encouraging them to interact with your page.
3. Value Opinions:
Customers often tell brands what they would like to see and it’s important to listen to this, but some of the time we don’t. Social media is a great media to learn more from your customers. If a customer leaves a suggestion on one of your social media pages about they would like to see from your brand, service or products (for example, “You should restock more of X dress but in Y colour instead”), really take the time to review this suggestion.
Thank the poster for their suggestion, take it into consideration and discuss it. If the customer sees that you value their suggestion and take it seriously, and maybe even actually implement the changes they suggested, your customer is more likely to feel their wants and needs are being met, that they are heard, and they will become a loyal customer to you.
4. Get Feedback:
Ask your customers to post about their most recent purchase (goods or services) and experience with your brand. Ask questions like what did they purchase? How they liked it? How did they use it? And any other comments they might have.
Feedback on social media is effective way to gather information about what your customers think about your products, shows what products are selling / what’s not and also what your customers want. Asking for feedback also shows your customers that you value them. Social media is a great way to gather feedback that you might not always receive in traditional retail/ services.
What can listening do for you?
Many companies spend unnecessary amounts of money trying to gain insight and information that’s right in front of our faces, free on social media sites. If (some) people just stopped trying to sell with silly status updates and actually listened and communicated with their followers, instead of to they’d gain a similar level of understanding.
- Brands that listen, and respond, will gain ground on competitors that aren’t through their retention of social data
- Consumers are humanised, so that brands gain a deeper understanding than just the information they provide on their pages
- Brands will become media sources, people will begin to rely on them for up to date, valuable information.