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Expert tips on how small businesses handle replies to comments on social media. Do I need to reply to all comments? How soon do you reply? What about negative comments?
Question: I’ve spent a lot of time growing my audience on Instagram and Twitter, which is great. However, we are starting to receive a lot of comments and customer questions, and we are having a hard time responding to each of them. Do I have to? How fast? And what do I do with the negative comments?
How you handle comments is very important because comments are a direct link to communicating with your customers, getting feedback, and building trust and loyalty. It’s all about spending time on social media in the first place.
However, it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel for each comment. First, it’s a good idea to create community guidelines that can guide you through your overall response strategy. Create a document that includes:
- Voice, tone, the personality you want to use online
- Examples of answers to expected questions with defined tone and style
- Guidelines for critical communication in particular
- Policies to block users from social media profiles (for example, many brands have policies that make it clear to block anyone who uses discriminatory, derogatory, or harassing words).
These guidelines encourage you to think about how to handle a particular situation before it happens and help other team members manage social media on your behalf.
Now to answer your specific question:
Do I Need to Reply to All Comments?
The simple answer is “yes”. You may be wondering when it comes to building a community on social media, and your followers expect it. In fact, according to one study, social media is the second most popular channel for customers to communicate with their brands (and the first channel for millennial customers).
Knowing this, even if it’s a simple emoji or “thank you”, it’s important to provide your followers with a positive and helpful experience by replying to comments. These small interactions can make a big difference.
By replying to comments, you show your followers (and customers) that you care, that you are reacting, and that their feedback is important. All of this helps you build connections and stand out from other less responsive companies.
Finally, if you know your followers are expecting a reply from you, they can comment on other posts, tag stories, and share your brand with non-followers. Is more likely to do. All of this enhances overall social media engagement and acts as word-of-mouth marketing.
How punctual do I need to be? Without a dedicated social media manager or team, it can be difficult to respond to all comments, DMs, and messages. However, it’s important to be timely, especially on platforms like Instagram where stories expire in 24 hours.
Take some time a day to check out the social media platform. This can be 15 minutes every few hours, or 15 minutes daily, depending on the number of comments and messages you receive. Put it on your calendar so that it becomes part of your routine.
You can also manipulate comments before or after scheduling posts to get inspiration for new content. There are online tools that can help you with the interaction. There is a simple dashboard that allows you to quickly see and interact with all your comments without having to switch platforms.
If you find it difficult to reply to comments on a daily basis, you can prioritize the most active platform first. For example, if Twitter is the platform that receives the most questions, focus on it.
Regardless of your schedule, there are always several ways to make your followers look forward to. Some people put their typical response times in their bios, while others pin tweets to their profile with more information. If you want to reserve a certain amount of time each day to answer customer service questions, it’s the best information to share if possible.
What Should I Do About Negative Comments?
Negative comments and customer feedback are usually just part of a social media game. Also, dealing with it is never fun, but it’s a good idea to deal with it as soon as possible to mitigate potential outages.
Again, it’s important to have that in mind and have a well-thought-out strategy for how to respond. When you receive an unavoidable negative comment, listen to the customer and make sure they feel they are listening, just as you would a face-to-face customer.
Much of your tone and style inspiration comes from ways to make friends and influence people, with a focus on empathy, understanding, and prioritizing others. This philosophy can be the key to your growth.
For instance, you should be quick to admit your faults or take the blame for a problem and always try to solve issues without assigning blame or misrepresenting key details. So, if a customer comments about a payment issue, you might comment back saying, “We are sorry for the trouble, would you be up for checking if your payment details are up to date? It seems there was a problem with the form of payment.” instead of “Your credit card was declined.”
You should also freely apologize to your followers and customers and address the end result for them. For example, you shouldn’t say, “We`re sorry our platform wasn`t working for you,” but rather, “We`re sorry we caused a frustrating experience here.”
After all, always remember that comments are the perfect tool to track your business’ feedback.. You can use them as tools to identify gaps in offerings, get inspiration for new content, and find areas that need improvement.
You can also use them to improve communication over time. For example, if you frequently get the same questions about shipping, create an Instagram highlight to answer them, or create a FAQ page that you can introduce to your users. Or, if your customers are regularly dissatisfied with customer service response times, you can investigate the causes of the delays and make plans to address those delays.
Social media comments are a great way to keep track of your customers’ emotions and how they continue to improve their business and online presence accordingly. So plan, respond quickly to your followers, and watch your community get more involved.