A look at the importance of content moderation in Social Media
Social media, blogs, forums and the like are outlets for people to express themselves, to share experiences bad and good with their connections or with people of similar interests. As a business, whether you actively use social media or not you are probably on it. You see, when people need to vent about a business the first place they take to now is the internet, a forum, a group or a social network. Whether this is to vent about a bad experience, scream from the rooftops about their joy or just discuss with others wethers to to use you or buy your products. Ultimately if you as a business aren’t on social media or you aren’t ‘social listening’ then you could either be missing out on new business or the opportunity to show your amazing customer service. It’s like turning a blind eye to what people could be saying about you.
Jargon Buster: Social listening is watching or setting up keyword searches so that if someone is talking about your biz you will be able to listen and respond quickly
How to manage customer feedback effectively
It’s one thing to be on social media and to be listening to what your customers or potential customers are saying about your business and another to actually deal with them in a respectful manner (especially if they are negative or bad reviews.) Seeing bad comments about your business, products or customer service can be very disheartening, as a business owner you may take this personally and can sometimes mean you want to reply quickly with an emotional reaction. This is almost always the wrong way to deal with the situation. To leave it is also not a great idea. Think about passing the responsibility onto someone else within customer service or respond in this manner:
Dear (Customer) Sorry to hear that your experience wasn’t exceptional ;-( – Could you email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what we can do?
This is enough to show you care to the public and you are also able to take the conversation to a more private platform to resolve any issues. job done.
‘Honesty and a timely response are crucial when dealing with negative comments on social media. Mistakes happen and if they do, it’s best to be transparent. It’s easy to suffer from ‘brand bias’ and try to defend your company by covering it up or appropriating blame elsewhere. Hold your hands up and be honest – customers appreciate it in the long run.’ – Says Hannah Rainford, Senior Social Manager, Jellyfish
Hannah Rainford adds: ‘It’s wise to prepare replies to potential queries in advance so that your community manager can respond quickly and appropriately. There’s nothing worse than leaving a negative mention without a reply. Even if you can’t solve the issue immediately, let the person know you’re working on it.’
Dealing with this negatively and publicly is a dangerous game! Businesses have been broken due to the negative way that have responded to to negative feedback on social media.
A very good example of when it goes very wrong was when american small business owners received an influx of bad reviews (they also appeared on Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares) Instead of trying to rectify the situation or to apologise for their mistakes they took to social media to insult their customers. Needless to say they received even more bad attention. The actual posts are too offensive for print!
Dealing with trolls
Upset customers and trolls are different things, normally your customers who head online to complain have a genuine upset whereas trolls don’t.
What is a troll?
A Trolls purpose is to make a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.
When it comes to genuine trolls the best way to deal with them is to delete their comments and brush it off. Trolls feed on response and upset, don’t feed them, delete them and they will go away. Never let a troll make you feel anything even if they are abusing you, you can block trolls easily on social media and report them to the networks. That’s it!
The role of professional social media management agencies
A social media management company normally creates a social media strategy, manages the content creation and engagement for your social media accounts. A good social media manager or management company will start by understanding your needs and goals as a company. A social media managers job is more than simply posting updates! They need great creativity and design skills, the ability to pick up your companies tone of voice, to react quickly to conversations about your business or possible business and to be able to measure and analyse the social media campaign activity. The ability to create conversation / engagement and to react to comments quickly is also a social media management must.
There are pro’s and con’s for using an external resource to manage your social networks. If you are lucky enough to have the resource in house, the good news is people can be trained to do this well, as long as you have some good social media guidelines in place. Of course if you outsource to a reputable company, you know you’ll be getting a professional who is able to get stuck in immediately.
“We manage all our social media accounts in-house and it has really helped us boost our visibility, outreach and even resulted in direct sales leads. By doing all our social media internally and having the core team use their own accounts, we can ensure we appear authentic, connect with people and have a personality that people can trust.
There is obviously risk associated with this and by having unmoderated social activity, we are aware that one of our team might be saying things that might not be well received all the time. To counter this, we have some broad guidelines but we ultimately trust our team to say and do the right thing.” Says Sarat Pediredla – Hedgehog Lab
A version of this article was published in SME Magazine