Whenever someone asks me if they should get involved in social media, I always say the same thing ‘Yes, I definitely think you should get involved… but only if you really want to, and if you are committed to maintaining a regular presence.’
I see too many dental sites with a Twitter / Facebook feed that was last updated some 6 months ago – this just screams unprofessional to me. And in fact, you’d do better to take it off altogether.
I have a routine – first I open up Twitter, then Facebook, LinkedIn and less often than I should (but I don’t love it yet!) Google +. Something tells me this will extend to Pinterest too in the near future. I do this regularly throughout the day – and my e-mails are always open, advising me of any mentions, likes, RT’s etc.
I cannot stress enough the importance of engaging and responding on social media – particularly the latter.
Merely twenty years ago, we began a new journey as proud netizens creating an impervious matrix called the Web. Today within the world we have many networks, which are determined to reduce the distance, hypothetically, between people. Twitter happens to be one such network that has not only succeeded in bridging gaps but has also made considerable progress in allowing business to proliferate through its simple and yet classy approach.
Twitter is a real time example of how good product reviews and recommendations can help your business soar to newer heights almost every day. There is so much you can do to raise the Online Reputation Management of your enterprise with the Twitter leverage. Let us weigh some of the options:
1. A Tweet for a Tweet: So you found someone who mentioned your product on Twitter one bright morning. Congratulations! Now, you don’t have to go overboard by calling the person, mailing him endlessly on his listed email id etc. Social networks are Social, or else the world would have stopped innovating with emails.
Sending a private message for a public comment is a show of utter under confidence in oneself and in your product. So, how about just dropping a tweet with some more information about your enterprise? You can be assured that this simple and friendly gesture will hold far more goodwill than the typical business approach of hounding the customer and immediately thrusting him into the hands of a salesperson.
2. Quick in Responses: Tardiness is so not acceptable. The speed with which you respond to messages of people is directly proportionate to the positive feedbacks that you will get for the tweet. See to it that you respond to the tweets on the same day, which makes it obvious, that you need to be super active on Twitter. There are, however, other ways to keep track of who is mentioning the name of your enterprise on Twitter. You can receive email notifications if someone has mentioned your brand or name of your company on Twitter that will keep you abreast.
3. Customizing Responses: This is a tactic not used by all. You can customize your responses and tweet individually to responses rather than sending in bulk tweets. Bulk responses may be convenient but a pain to read. They also may not be of much interest to your readers. They might even take it as spam or out-of-contexts. So if you find that you have multiple responses to send because there have been more than a couple of mentions, you could probably get down to responding to each one of them. It will work wonders!
4. How to follow back: While you are at it, stop and think of what you want to write as a response. Apart from being friendly, you want to use this opportunity to say something productive about your services. You have to do this since you want them to come back to you and not drop you like a one-time-wonder. Usually companies hire professionals to handle their public profile, but getting to know your customer is going to be a definite leverage for you. So, do it yourself! Be positive, in your response. Try to add some humor but not very starkly.
You have 140 characters to express yourself and you need to use them prudently. Remember less is more. Make the response conversational, usually with an open ended question, so there is scope for the individual to get back to you. You don’t have to sound like a salesperson really, for example, adding some random thoughts about your product is just as useful as using the jargon. Just keep it simple!
5. All response is good response: One is usually taught in management how to deal with bad publicity. The bad news is that you will have to respond to criticism just the same. Since you are supposed to follow up on a comment you need to address those comments that have nasty things to say about you, but with grace.
A simple gesture of thanking someone says a million things about a person and consequently about the product. Some people tend to shun away from negative tweets which may not be the best way to approach a situation. You need to address them, but with style. If the criticism is genuine then make a public declaration to improve upon the aspect, and if not, you could gracefully provide an explanation and satiate the query or complaint. It may seem like a tempting option to send a private message over to the user; however, it may not be the best. Being honest in one’s responses is probably the only way to turn a critique into applauding appreciation.
6. Following up on the right Tweets: You can obviously sit in front of the computer and reply to tweets all day. But why work hard when you can work smart. It is best to follow your discretion as to which are the tweets which will bring you better business. Building conversations around specific topics which carry the name of your enterprise can be very rewarding.
You can, however, acknowledge the lesser important ones with a ‘thank you’, for the sake of being polite. But hold onto the ones that have great content. Use them and offer solutions right away to build your reputation. In fact, when you find tweets that may not directly have a mention of your company but do refer to the services you offer, you can instantly offer your expertise in a prudent manner. You don’t have to make it sound like an advertisement; instead you can be subtle while doing.
Twitter is not all about being professional and a grab-game of customers. Maintaining your presence is a tricky thing but if done well you have hit the jackpot. Usually, interesting tweets are met with dry responses, which in turn lead to a dead-end. Finding opportunity in simple tweets requires some expertise and a lot of practice. Don’t be conventional, and let your creative juices flow freely.