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Think about how you yourself use social media. For most of us, we judge a brand or company instantly using a few simple things – a) Do they have a website, c) Do they have social media channels and are they active on them and, c) Are they responsive on their social media channels? Similarly, it’s important to take charge of all three for your own brand or company. Social media provides an invaluable resource for a brand, as most consumers use social media as an unfiltered, spur-of-the-moment forum in which to voice their opinions.

1. Encourage feedback

Encourage feedback across your social media channels with a poll or simply a post asking a question. Critical comments from your consumers will allow you to tailor your brand or service directly to the consumers, and in doing so, your consumers will see a direct change due to their feedback. This can build trust and loyalty with your online community.

2. Don’t disregard the feedback

There’s no sense in encouraging feedback, only to ignore it. If you see any negative feedback surface, make it your priority to address it promptly. Apologise for their experience publicly, contact them directly, investigate the complaint and ask what you can do to remedy their situation. Remember, feedback can also surface online through Google reviews and other review forums, so use search analytics tools to see what people are saying about your brand away from your social media platforms.

3. What are your customers saying?

Make a point of what your customers are asking for. If the same queries come up in regards to a process on your website (or otherwise), think about whether you could change this process to make it simpler. In other instances, use common queries to build a FAQ section of your website or social media pages.

4. Keep your enemies close

Keep an eye on what your competitors and their consumers are voicing online. This allows you to see what they’re doing well, so you can tailor it to your brand, and what they’re not doing well, so you can set yourself up to not make the same mistakes. If you find your competition is running a lot of promotions or special offers, you may find it in your best interests to jump on the bandwagon to keep up too.

5. Train your employees

Make sure your employees are trained on how to conduct themselves on your brand’s official social media channels, as it is a lack of understanding that often leads to the PR scandals we see so often. Make sure there are guidelines on what voice to use on social media, what is appropriate/inappropriate to talk about and how not to confuse the company’s official social media pages with the employee’s personal ones. Making sure your employees are trained also means they can all chip in, lessening the burden on a social media manager and allowing for some variety in your posts.