Comment Management On Social Media: Best Practices
As your business evolves, more people will engage with you on social media. That’s terrific. But with all that exposure also comes some reputation risks. A single comment reply from a brand can hurt its reputation in the eyes of many potential clients.
And, of course, not much can be conveyed through a single-word comment. The best results will happen from more information, so that either party gets a better understanding of what the situation is. Also, single-word comments could be seen as derogatory, which is the worst impression you want to give.
Comment management strategies are created to keep social media communication positive, engaging, and respectful. These strategies have tips and guides for responding to various comments and keeping business pages clear from negativity, hate, and disrespect.
Social Media Comment Management Best Practices
If you’re looking for social media comment management tips for your company, check out these seven best practices. All social media brands, from world-famous big companies to small restaurants, try to follow them to encourage positive and respectful interactions.
1. Never Ignore Negative Comments
Ignoring a negative comment is like ignoring an email complaint to a customer service department. Customers don’t appreciate silence – 40% of online consumers expect businesses to respond within an hour after messaging them on social media.
That’s why it’s best to respond as soon as possible and try and resolve the issue until other social media notice the silence.
The best practices for handling negative comments:
- Apologize for the customer’s experience
- Never respond defensively or negatively to avoid making the situation worse
- Avoid generic canned responses – customers can tell when an answer is a template
- Propose to connect to try and resolve the issue.
The acknowledgment of a negative comment like a customer complaint is the first step towards resolution. In this case, your best bet is to apologize and attempt to get in touch with the customer to find out what went wrong.
2. Apologize Where Necessary
An apology is the best policy in cases where the company is at fault for a poor customer experience. A reply with a courteous apology isn’t only a proper way to handle complaints but also a way to show that you don’t shy away from acknowledging errors.
Even a simple apology will go a long way to minimizing or preventing any reputation damage. So should you encounter a comment from an unhappy customer, the first sentence in the reply should offer sincere apologies?
You may also want to read: Quiz: Find Out Why You’re Getting Fewer Comments On Your Blog
3. Give Customer Service Contacts
Not every business provides customer service via social media, so any complaints should somehow go to those responsible for handling them. One way is to reply to negative comments with some customer service details and ask the customer to get in touch as soon as possible.
Any available customer support channel will do. For example, you can share your customer support team email, phone number, or contact form web page. In cases where urgent attention is required, consider giving the fastest option like a phone number or live chat link.
Here’s a good example from Legal Sea Foods. The customer wrote that the business missed his phone call, which was very disappointing to him. Legal Sea Foods responded by providing the contacts of the customer service department.
Source: Legal Sea Foods, Facebook
4. Provide Quick Explanations
Many people who, for some reason, had poor experiences with businesses want to know what happened. Perhaps that experience was a rare one, which was surprising, or so frustrating that they want an explanation – the response will help them decide whether to buy again.
That’s why consider explaining the situation that led to the customer’s experience.
Don’t make it too long, though – frustrated customers wouldn’t be in the mood to read stories. Try SupremeDissertations or Hemingway Editor to get writing feedback for practice and avoid writing unnecessarily long answers like this one.
5. Answer Questions
Any question from a real customer must be answered. Even if it’s just a simple comment on Facebook about something insignificant – there’s a person behind that comment waiting for an answer.
In this example, a Los Angeles-based Water Grill restaurant replies by saying that the product in question won’t be available on a certain day and explains why. It’s a good reply – short, to the point, and easy to understand.
Source: Water Grill’s Facebook page
Note how Water Grill tagged the customer in the reply. That’s another excellent practice to let the customer know that the brand answers their question – especially when there are multiple comments in the thread.
Bottom line: write answers to comments with questions – it’s what quality customer service is all about. If you don’t know the answer, acknowledge that – writing a reply would still be better than keeping a customer in the dark.
6. Ask for More Details
Imagine getting a comment from a customer that says: “Worst service ever. Not recommended.” Vague and unsupported comments like these don’t have a lot to say, so more explanation is needed to get to the bottom of the issue.
Here’s how Best Buy’s customer service requests details.
Source: Best Buy, Facebook
If, for some reason, you encounter similar comments:
- Politely ask the customer to provide more details about the issue
- Provide contact details in case if the customer feels like getting in touch with you directly
- Never reply defensively, regardless of how rude the comment is.
Also, consider taking the conversation in private messages. In some cases, it’s a better way to get information and resolve the issue faster.
7. Don’t Tolerate Unwanted Behavior
People who post spam, offensive, or inappropriate comments should be banned. By doing so, you’ll be doing your business a favor + helping social media networks to enforce their policies against harassment, hate speech, and derogatory comments.
So if someone makes an inappropriate comment on your business’s page – ban them, so they have no chance to do it again.
The only exception is constructive criticism of your brand – such messages are uncomfortable to read but not inappropriate. In this case, try to engage respectfully and acknowledge the opinion of the commenter. The rule of never responding in a defensive or negative manner applies here, too.
Comment Management on Social Media: Summary
Keep your brand’s reputation positive and intact by taking care of social media comments. These seven best practices for comment management can help the person in charge of your social media pages to achieve this goal.
Make these tips the essentials of your social media comment management strategy. You’ll be making updates as you go, but these tips will always stay.
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