Social media isn't only about posting the latest brunch special or happy hour. It's a forum to engage with customers and get people excited about being a part of your business' community, which is why community management is such an important aspect of running your social media. Fostering great reviews and excited customers isn't easy, but can be extremely rewarding for you and your business.
Managing a business' social media community isn't just about catering to happy customers, it's about dealing with angry ones too. A dissatisfied customer is usually much more vocal about their unhappiness than a happy customer, and should be dealt with as quickly as possible. After all, they'll figure if you didn't respond to them on Facebook, perhaps you may pay attention to them after they've blasted you on Twitter, Instagram, or worst of all - Yelp! Indeed, simply deleting unwanted comments is never a healthy approach to community management.
In fact, there are only two cases in which comments should be deleted. The first is when there is when hate speech, racial/homophobic slurs, or completely senseless rants. One thing is to voice a complaint, another is to demean employees, management or other customers through innappropriate language. The second instance is where there is spam or bots are plaguing your page. Though simple "nice!" comments are harmless, others will try and direct traffic from your page to their pages, which usually contain phishing scams.
However, the bulk of interactions stemming from social media are perfectly organic, and come from customers looking to connect with your business. Let's take a look at a few examples of excellent community management done right:
FUSAR Engages With Their Customers, and Gets Them Excited About Their Brand
See a customer that has questions? Answer them! Customers love being acknowledged on social media, and it lets them know that the company cares about their experience. Customers also gain a sense of security knowing that their investment in your product is going to a business that cares about the customer even after their money is received. Take, for example, this customer's post on FUSAR. FUSAR's community manager went ahead and let them know that it indeed was Walterrific, and encouraged the customer to check out some content that FUSAR had created in order to have them further engage with their brand.
Lyft Addresses Both Happy Customers & Upset Customers
Some people are going to love you. Some people are going to hate you. Both are going to let you know it. While you may think a prospective customer will want to see nothing but great reviews, everyone knows that it's going to be a mixed bag. Don't feel the need to censor every bad comment; instead, address them. This lets the dissatisfied customer know that they've been heard, and lets prospective customers know that you care.
Take this example from Lyft. You see a distressed customer explain that they had an awful experience, and right below there's another that says that they've been happy with most of their rides and that they enjoy the service. Lyft replies to both, and the community is better off for it.
New Balance Lets Community Management Play a Role in Reputation Management
When white supremacists are declaring you the official shoes of "The White Race," you know it's time to speak up! This is a statement New Balance put up on their Facebook in response to Neo Nazi members declaring them the "shoes of white people" after New Balance declared their support for Trump. With so much backlash, they composed this statement and posted it to their wall with mostly positive feedback. It may not seem like much, but gestures like these go a long way in managing a business' reputation in a time of crisis. Additionally, it gave the media a quoteable piece of writing to use in their own publications, allowing New Balance some control of the language used to describe them.
The big takeaway here is to never be afraid of using social media channels to address an audience, even when it's a senstive subject. As long as the statement is firm and honest, customers will recognize that there is a relatable person behind the social media that is willing to address their concerns.
Catch Put Their Own Photos Onto Yelp To Guarantee Their Restaurant is Represented Well
Wonder how certain restaurants got such nice pictures on their Yelp pages? Well, they did it themselves!
Don't be afraid to post staged pictures of your food or restaurant, and never be shy about asking friends to post good reviews for you and your company. This lets first time customers know that they're in the right place, and makes them much more likely to engage with you in a positive way. If there are no photos on your business' Yelp page - consider yourself lucky as some customers may flood your business with . Quickly seize this opportunity to post your own pictures before customers come in and post their own not-so-tasty-looking photos. This way you can ensure the best photos are always shown first!
Don't Be Afraid to Respond To Customers on Yelp & Google Reviews
Just as with photos, guests will leave reviews for your business over time: both good and bad. Regardless of how great any establishment is, it'll always receive bad reviews, but it's the good establishments that know how to handle bad reviews that will be successful in the long run. Remember, with 67% of customers being influenced by online reviews, it's important to do everything you can to make sure your business has the best reviews possible. You can respond to reviews on Yelp, Facebook and Google, giving you and opportunity to apologize for their poor experience, or clear up any misunderstandings that may have occured.
It's also a good way of mitigating the damage that online couponing can deal to your reviews. Often times there may be a disconnect between what the coupon promised and what were told to deliver, resulting in disgruntled customers. The first place these customers like to go to are your reviews, so it is important to let other customers know that their review may not be representative of your establishment.
Community management can be tricky, but implementing good practices is key to fostering a healthy social media presence. Just spending a few minutes a day letting customers know that you're listening goes a long way in creating a lifelong relationship with your patrons. If you're still looking to get your own business' social media up and running, you can get started by reading up on what NOT to do on our blog post here! In the meantime, keep in touch by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media.