By now, every business owner knows that using social media can drive
sales and business. But what about the comments one receives on posts?
They too should not be ignored. Comments can give insight into many
aspects about your customer.
“Conversations on social media are the ideal way to see what certain demographics are saying given the platform. Do you want to know what young teens are saying about your brand? Log into Instagram and do a search of your brand. Do you want to know what’s being said on Twitter? You’re going to get a very quick and precise opinion on your brand,” explains Social Media/PR Consultant Ricky Garvey.
Business owners should embrace even the negative comments, using all as a learning tool. “Your brand can learn quite a bit from reading comments. There is quite a bit of value in reading comments, especially if you pay close attention to how others are responding to those initial comments. Are people agreeing with negative comments? You may have a problem on your hand,” notes Garvey.
“There is a lot of benefit you have by working with positive comments. It can add legitimacy and awareness to your brand. However, it’s the negative comments that are often the real diamonds in the rough,” adds Jason Ephraim, VP of Growth. for Mailbird .com. “These negative comments are what sales people would call ‘opportunities’ because they allow you to overcome objections in a public forum. You might not always win over that user, but there are dozens more that might have similar feelings/concerns that can see your responses. We also document what people are saying and make sure to address anything that gets multiple mentions.”
There can be major backlash to not paying attention to comments. “If you fail to pay attention to comments, you’re missing two huge opportunities. 1. You’re missing the chance to communicate with people who have had a negative experience with your brand. You can publicly apologize for their negative experience and invite them to give you another chance. 2. You’re missing the opportunity to thank someone for the positive feedback. If someone is openly saying something positive about your brand, they are now a brand ambassador. You should encourage this behavior by rewarding it,” Garvey points out.
Okay, you’ve read the comments and have taken heed, but should you always respond to comments? “Depending on your resources, you should always make it a priority to respond to all comments. You need the ability to turn negative comments into a positive experience. Individuals love communication and acknowledgement on social media. You can train your customers to post about your brand multiple times by openly responding and thanking them for their support,” says Garvey.
Also, you want to strengthen your online relationships and responding will tell customers you care about them and what they say. “Social media is about relationships. You are trying to engage people, maybe even those that have no idea what you offer, in a conversation. If you are getting comments you are either active on social channels, in which case it doesn’t make sense to ignore comments,” says Ephraim. “Or, you are doing something incredibly right or wrong, enough so that people are seeking you out for no other reason than to make mention of you and something you are doing/did. In the latter cases, you need to engage these highly motivated people and either hold them up for the world to see, or try your best to overcome their issues with you so you don’t have a sign planted somewhere with doubts about your service.”
Be careful how you respond. “When it comes to positive comments, respond with some personality. If you’re responding to a negative experience, take the time to communicate a sincere apology. Invite the individual to give you another chance–on your dime,” suggests Garvey.
Ephraim says to use empathy. “Realize that the person was disturbed or frustrated enough to take the time to seek out your social profile or blog post to comment on it. Thank them, let them know they are heard, and work with them. It is also important to know when to take things out of the public eye. Not just for the sake of protecting your image, but more for security and one-to-one service. You don’t need to be discussing usage, account details, software versions, and so on where everyone can see,” says Ephraim.