As mentioned above social media is about conversations – so don’t just set up a twitter account, LinkedIn page or LinkedIn group and then leave it inactive. Before you get started ensure that you have the resources available to regularly post content, respond to queries and get involved in discussions. Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to run social media accounts well – it can be a full-time job, particularly if you’re gathering in content from across a large organisation and then responding to the range of queries that might arise.
Something that comes up often when discussing social media is the issue of dealing with complaints and negative comments about your organisation – there have been some high profile cases of complaints on twitter which have gone viral because they were dealt with poorly. Whilst this probably won’t be something you have to deal with on a daily basis it is important to consider how you would deal with a negative situation. Some suggestions are below:
- First of all, make sure you acknowledge the complaint or negative comment – nothing upsets people more than being ignored
- Secondly, try to engage with the complainant directly and in a less public way – via private messages (most social networks have this kind of facility), e-mail or telephone
- Thirdly, do your best to get the complaint resolved – even if it is in an area you are unfamiliar with and you need to pass it on to a colleague
Prompt action can turn a negative experience into a positive one for many customers so, as in the offline world, try to provide the best customer service you can.
This of course doesn’t mean that you have to deal with unpleasant behaviour, threats or abuse. Again, most social networks have a procedure where you can report unreasonable behaviour and if the situation escalates despite your best efforts you should get senior staff involved.