Social media is that thorn in the side of a small business. It’s one of the least expensive, but most essential types of marketing available today. Initially a marketing-focused style of interacting with customers, it now allows customers to complain. And, when they do, they expect instant results. Are you having trouble understanding your bill? Forget calling and listening to elevator music while you wait for someone to answer. Tweet the company’s billing department about it. Did you get really bad service at your favorite retailer? No problem, just post on their Facebook page about the problem. You’ll likely get a near instant response.
Companies are finding it essential not only to respond to these social media posts, but even to hire professionals to manage them. According to The Guardian, some companies even have Twitter accounts specifically established to manage these types of accounts. Accounts like @VerizonSupport and @AskTarget are all about handling questions, complaints, and compliments within minutes.
That’s Great, But What About Small Businesses?
A small business might find it downright challenging to post daily on social media. They’re too busy “in the shop,” managing the needs of their clients. Learning they need additional employees to manage complaints online doesn’t sound financially possible. Add to this the dozens of websites where customers can post online reviews and you’ve got a full-time job opening in your business.
When you’re facing the challenge of overcoming social media as a small business owner, there are solutions that can resolve many of these concerns.
- Don’t do it alone or in-house. Keep your employees focused on the customer. Hire writers to handle the responses to your customer’s social media posts. This is a highly-efficient, affordable, and effective solution for businesses.
- Set up a simple alert in Google to tell you when your company’s name is used online. Every time the phrase is found, an email hits your inbox, allowing you to respond.
- Provide specific instructions to your customers about the actions they should take on your profiles. A message to call or Tweet you with concerns ensures them you’re being proactive.
Keep in mind that while most large companies offer this instant-reaction type of response, most customers are far more patient when it comes to small business owners. Make it a point to check your accounts regularly, but you don’t have to spend your day with your smartphone in hand, waiting for a Facebook notification to arrive.
Did They Seriously Just Say That About Your Business?
A less-than-nice comment on social media can drive any business owner to do or say something that’s not quite customer-friendly. In an instant, your high-sales day or first-day-off-in-a-month can turn into the worst day, as a result of a negative comment. What do you do? Walk away, breathe, and relax. Respond in a positive manner by apologizing, re-stating the concern they have as valid, and offering a resolution.
When it comes to social media’s instant demand of your attention, pay attention. Establish a habit of checking your accounts on a daily basis, hire writers to handle the posts and comments, and handle complaints with a level head. These are key opportunities for you to impress that angered customer and win over new ones.
Sandy B is a full-time freelancer with too much time on her hands managing social media accounts for top-notch businesses. She’s dedicated to giving the small business owner the edge when it comes to quality content and social media “likes.”