In a previous post, we talked about how over 80% of adults in the United States are on at least one social media platform (you can read more about that here). That’s a big number, so wouldn’t it seem that social media is a perfect place to be engaging with your customers? The best part is that it’s free. It’s free to use, free to engage, free advertising that can be really simple. If you’re not sure how to effectively engage and reply on social media, you’re not alone. Forbes.com got down to the reasons behind people not using social media, and two of the most common are: no knowledge of how to use it, and no time to use it. You’re a business owner, of course you’re busy. However, social media really shouldn’t be an extra, “if-I-have-time-I’ll-check-it-out” concept when it comes to your business. If you don’t want to have your own personal social media accounts, that’s just fine. However, not having them set up for your business is really detrimental and definitely causing you to lose out on business.
As the for the other reason: not knowing how to effectively use social media. That can be fixed! It’s quicker and easier than you’re thinking it will be, and again- it’s FREE. If you’re ready to find out how to effectively engage and reply to your followers on social media, keep reading:
Respond to the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
According to social media expert, Jay Baer, “A lack of response is actually a response. It’s a response that says, ‘We don’t care about you very much’.” Don’t let any of your followers feel like you don’t care about them! Your responses don’t have to always be long and detailed. Sometimes a simple, “Thanks!” or “Awesome!” will do. However, it’s just as important to respond to the positive comments as it is to the negative. Too often businesses respond only to their negative comments, showing their positive comment-ers that they aren’t as important. Of course it’s necessary to address complaints and try to make things right, especially on a social media platform where everyone can see. That doesn’t mean that positive comments should be lesser than, though. When someone leaves you a review or comment letting you know how much they loved working with you, or how great of a job your business did, respond. Your response can be short and sweet, “Thank you! We’re glad to hear that you had a positive experience with us.” The same can be said about your responses to the negative feedback, “We’re sorry to hear you weren’t satisfied with our work. Please call us at (000) 000-0000 so we can make this right.”
Don’t stress yourself out about your social media responses. Just craft some quick and easy replies that you can post whenever you have spare time throughout your busy day.
Respond within 24 Hours & Be Consistent
When responding to your followers on social media, you should try to get back to them as quickly as possible. You want to show them that you appreciate the interaction, and you care about what they have to say. Most importantly, you want to answer any questions they have as quickly as possible before they decide to use a different business who did respond. If you can get back to your comment-ers even sooner than 24 hours, that is even better. However, 24 hours is fair, since you are busy completing jobs and running a business.
Being consistent with your responses on social media means having personality when you reply, and letting that show through the same way to all of your followers. Consistency also means you are replying to everyone, not picking and choosing. And, of course, it means that you are giving the same responses to the same questions. For example, if one person asks if you will give them a free estimate and you say no, then someone you know asks the same question and you say yes, that could come across really poorly and make you look unprofessional. Instead, know that consistency is key and treat everyone the same! It’s not a bad idea to have a few responses written up ahead of time for negative comments so you can just copy and paste your reply. That way, you are saving time and everyone is being heard.
Ask Questions & Be Personable
While still being professional, you should also be personable on social media. Both in your posts and your responses, you can engage your followers further by asking questions. For example, if you are an HVAC specialist, you might post something like this, “It’s starting to get cold out, and it’s time to turn up those heaters! Do you prefer Summer or Winter?” Questions like that will get followers to engage with your posts, and will make it so more people are able to see what you’re posting on social media. Another example would be, “Do you prefer yards full of greenery or colorful with different flowers?” That is something a landscaper could ask. This gets people involved with you on social media and is a great way to engage with customers, while reminding them that you’re there to help.
Being personable in your engagements and replies on social media means that you are using your personality and letting people know they’re talking to a human instead of a robot. If someone comments on your season preference post (above) and says they prefer winter, you could reply with, “Not me! I love to go outside swimming and hiking. What are your favorite winter activities?” This shows your followers that you care about their opinions and you are actually paying attention to them, which is something they’ll want should they decide to work with you! Be friendly, and be yourself. Don’t be afraid to crack a joke or two if the timing is right!
Use Emojis & Images
Speaking of being personable, people love posts and comments that contain emojis and images. Emojis are a big part of social media language, and most people on these platforms use them and love them. They are also a great way of setting the tone and making sure things aren’t taken the wrong way. Sometimes, replies or jokes can be misunderstood because of the lack of face-to-face online. This is where emojis come in! If you are joking around with a follower, be sure to leave a smiling or laughing face at the end of your response. If someone tells you they prefer summer (again, referencing the post idea above), your response could be simple and easy like just leaving a sun emoji as your reply. That way you’re still interacting and getting your point across, but it literally took you less than a second!
According to socialmediaexaminer.com, social posts that contain images have an 80% higher interaction rate than those who don’t! People love seeing images in their feed. It makes things less mundane and boring, and makes people more likely to respond or “like” your post or reply. You could post images of your actual work, or just funny images that pertain to your post or response. Images are a great way to draw attention to your posts, and in turn, making people more likely to follow you.
Don’t let social media scare you. Instead, use it as a tool that will help you grow and succeed in the business world! Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll see just how fun social media can be. Happy posting!
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!