Social Care and Social Listening: Best Practices, not Buzzwords

You already know that social media has become a major piece, or sometimes the only piece, of most businesses’ marketing strategy – if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this! However, as social media continues to grow and change, making Facebook ads and directing customers to landing pages are not the only things on social media strategists’ minds anymore (or, at least, they shouldn’t be!). We’ve noted before that social media pages are communities, and those communities need to be nurtured in order for them to grow. Two new ways that you should be thinking about social media strategy are in terms of social care and social listening.

What is social care?

Social care means transferring your customer service communications, such as processing returns, solving problems, and answering customers’ questions, from traditional methods to social media. Instead of setting up a phone line, your social media strategists become part of your customer service team, making sure to get customers’ inquiries solved online. Social media has made users expect immediate responses, and they want brands to meet those expectations. Nielsen recently found that 1 in 3 customers preferred social care to contacting a company by phone, and that number continues to grow. Facebook is the most commonly used social network for social care, with 29% of customers having asked questions on a company’s page, and 28% of users having asked questions about brands on their personal page. Working social care into your customer service strategy is a great way to build a relationship with customers and show them that you know what they want in both a product and a brand.

What is social listening?

Social listening once meant researchers and marketers looking at what customers were saying on social media websites, and then tailoring their products or services to better fit what customers said. However, marketers are not the only ones partaking in social listening; customers do it, too. Users of Facebook and Twitter are equally, if not more, interested in finding out what customers have to say about your brand than finding out what you have to say about your brand. They trust other customers more than any business, and if a customer leaves a negative review on your page, they are more likely to focus on that than on any sales messages.

So how can you work with this? One method would be to stop conversation all together; no negative reviews means no negative effects. We all know, however, that that simply would not work. So, the best thing to do is to make sure that any negative reviews are answered, quickly and positively. This shows customers that you are trustworthy, rather than inauthentic. On the other side, encourage users to share their positive opinions! If they liked your product, ask them to tell others!

The bottom line

Customers are social media-savvy, and they expect your brand to be, too! Show them that you understand them by responding to them through their favourite sites, and encourage them to share their experiences with each other. Both of these strategies will make sure that your customers know you care about them as much as they care about you.

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