In part 1 of ‘what are your customers saying about you‘, we looked at some research from digital communications company Quba showing that not enough companies are monitoring what their customers say about them online. Doing this – and responding to them – is called having a social media strategy
So what can you do to develop your own Social Media strategy?
The first thing is to find out what your customers are actually saying about you online. If you have a blog or a forum on your website then getting customer feedback is quite easy – the happiest and least happy will be sure to share their feedback with you directly.
But what about those people who will simply give feedback elsewhere on the web, or on their social networks?
There are two separate tools you can use to find out what they’re saying. First, set up a few ‘Google Alerts’ using your company name, and your domain name. If you think there’s a chance that people will discuss you personally then set up a Google Alert for your personal name as well.
With a Google Alert, every time Google comes across a new mention of your company, domain or name as they crawl the web, they will send you an email with a link to where your company is mentioned. You can set up a Google Alert here.
This won’t necessarily give you up to date mentions of your company name since Google can take up to 3 months to trawl every website.
The second thing to do is to search on Twitter for mentions of your company name. The great thing about Twitter search is that you can instantly find where your customers are mentioning you. However, you probably don’t have time to constantly search for mentions of your name on Twitter! To save time, use a service like Tweetbeep.com to send you a daily email with all new mentions of your company name. Its free.
And what exactly do you do when you find people mentioning or talking about you or your brand?
The short answer is: get involved!
If people are criticising your company, then enter the conversation and let them know you’re sorry they had a bad time. Find out what went wrong. Is there anything you can do to rectify it? It often doesn’t take much to turn a negative reviewer into a positive one, once that person knows they’re not being neglected. And you get to publicly show your customer service skills to other people reading the thread.
That doesn’t mean you have to concede that the customer is absolutely right in what they’re saying. If you put your side of the story, and it seems fair, then anyone viewing the thread will see that you have a reasonable point of view.
If customers are saying good stuff then you might want to thank them for their feedback. You need to make a judgment as to whether or not you can add anything to the conversation – sometimes its better to let customers speak for themselves, so as to appear more impartial.
If you can identify the customer then it might be a good idea to send them a personal email thanking them for their comments.
The other good thing to do with positive comments is to channel them towards the better known reviews sites for your market. If you do get positive feedback – either as an email, a comment on a blog or forum, then ask that customer to share that on reviews websites you think influence users most.
We’ve talked about reviews sites before. They are increasingly important in influencing customer decisions: people are more likely to take the opinion of an impartial reviews site than a customer service agent. And in our ‘Google the Innovator’ series we showed how Google itself is increasingly displaying the results from Reviews websites.
Here a are a list of well known reviews websites; you probably know a few for your industry too.
Have you put a ‘social media strategy’ in place? Have you had any positive or negative experiences with it? Leave us a comment below.