1. Lose the negative attitude
We know social media profiles were forced on you and have become somewhat of a headache. We know you’re upset and frustrated by review sites like Yelp. Well, get over it and start dealing with it. These sites are here to stay so try to see the bright side. In the past, you had to pay Yellow Pages to list your business so that customers could find you. You had to build a website on your own and spend money marketing it. While you still have to do those things, these days, there are in addition dozens of social media sites, review sites and directories that list you for free and are working very hard to attract customers to find your business on their platform.
Yes, social media is frustrating, especially when you get a negative review but at least you can now find out when a customer is not satisfied and do something about fixing it.
2. Claim all your social media profiles
Most social media sites provide this option to business owners. When you claim your profile you will get some control of its contents and privileges afforded to members only. While you can’t control the reviews themselves, you can control the business information presented such as opening hours and product offerings. In some cases, such as on Facebook, you can upload photos and message your customers directly. It’s a marketing opportunity you must take advantage of.
3. Fill out your profiles
No one knows the merits of your business better and it’s your job to let everybody know about them. Fill out all the info on your profile, post enticing pictures, link to your website. Take the opportunity to show your shine and make the most of it. Don’t forget to keep this information fresh and updated.
Remember, customers are much more likely to reach your social media profile than at your own website. Since you can’t beat the Yelps and Googles of the world in the SEO game, why not take advantage of all the effort and money they put into building a profile for you and attracting consumers to it.
4. Interact with customers online
Don’t just let your social media profile linger as if dead. Continuously interact with your fans and followers. Post new content and comment on customer posts. In some cases, you can comment on negative reviews and message the reviewer personally. This gives you the opportunity to turn around a dissatisfied customer and, equally if not more important, show visitors to the profile that you care about their experience and are listening to them.
Yes, it’s a lot of work and you are very busy, but it’s where most customers will get their first impression of your business. If your social media pages seem outdated or ‘dead’, customers might lose interest. If you’re too busy to keep up with your pages yourself, hire a part-time social media manager or a contractor to help you.
5. Prevent negative reviews
The dreaded negative review. It’s gut wrenching isn’t it? It’s tough to take criticism for others especially when it’s about your baby, your business. Even more so when it’s vague, unfounded or you believe the review is fake. It feels terrible, but it must be dealt with quickly.
The first line of defense is to prevent the bad review in the first place.
Tactic #1: Provide great service. It’s as simple as that. Give people a reason to rave, not complain
Tactic #2: Since things rarely go perfectly on a consistent basis, tactic #2 is to intercept. Have a feedback program in place that allows customers to contact you directly and privately. It’s so simple, yet so hard to do right. One thing not to do is to assume your website, contact form, or phone number are a feedback program. They are but a partial solution.
The most important component of an effective feedback program is telling your customers about it. It should be obvious to them that this is the way to reach you and it should be as easy or easier for them to do then going to a public social media site.
Tactic #3: Reply promptly. Address customer messages as fast as you can, ideally in the moment. Do not let a negative message linger. While you are doing that, the customer might be stewing, discussing the issue with friends and getting even more worked up. Even if you need more time to check on the situation, send a tentative reply and state when you’ll get back to the customer. Don’t forget to follow up.
Social networks are a blessing and a curse, but by implementing the best practices above, you can tip the scales towards the former. If you have questions about social media, let us know in the comments. The OL team is happy to help.
Photo Credit: mkhmarketing via Compfight cc