Twitter made its debut in 2006, and Facebook followed in September 2006 with open registration from college students to anyone over the age of 13 and the rest, as they say, is Web history. However, the advent of these two behemoths coined the term "social media." It may have all began with Myspace, but Facebook and Twitter brought it to the masses.
Now there are quite a few social media sites, including Google+ and Pinterest. However, as a business owner, you too can use these sites and drive traffic back to your blog—or simply use them for various other uses. One such use that some companies and businesses use social media for is customer service.
A number of high-profile merchants and e-commerce businesses, such as Best Buy, JCPenney, and Apple, use social media for customer service. But how does one use social media for the purposes of customer service? Below we look at three ideas on how to do just this.
1. Dedicate Special Team Member(s)
If you can afford to dedicate a team member (or two) to manage your business's social media accounts, it can free up more of your time to focus on other aspects of your business. This will also help you keep an eye on what people are saying about your brand on the Web. This should only take an hour per day to monitor the accounts and respond to any queries or complaints. Make sure your employee understands social media so he or she knows how to interact. Training and progress reports are crucial in making sure your social media manager knows what to do and how to monitor success metrics.
2. Have a Strategic Plan
Whether you run an insurance agency, a car dealer, or restaurant, having a strategic social media plan is important to gauge success. Let’s say your goal is to gain 500 new followers on Twitter, or perhaps respond to all customer complaints within 24 hours for this quarter. By having a strategic plan in place, you will have a roadmap of how you're going to accomplish these goals and pass the plan along to your social media manager. You can develop this plan yourself or outsource it, but having one in place is a smart business move.
3. Respond in a Timely Manner
A recent report on Business Insider mentions the timeframe consumers except businesses to address customer service issues, and the results may surprise you. In the report, 41% of consumers expect a response within 24 hour, 29% within 8 hours, and 16% within 10 minutes. As you can see, many customers expect businesses to address their issues in a timely manner. Keep this in mind when developing your strategic plan and let your social media manager know of all guidelines.
Social media is here to stay and if used properly can yield many rewards. The key is to be creative, have a sound strategic plan of action and respond in a timely manner. The savvy consumers who follow you will thank you with more business.
Missy is a finance writer who specializes in such diverse topics as automotive finance, bank rates, stocks, universal life insurance and real estate investments.