I think as a brand it is absolutely vital to respond to any feedback you receive across all social media accounts. Whether it be positive feedback, merely a question or even an impolite complaint, any comment from a user deserves as helpful of a response as you can give from your brand’s social media accounts.
From the outsider’s point of view, if there isn’t a response to a comment or question, it looks and feels as if the brand doesn’t care what the inquirer has to say. As a company, you don’t want your audience thinking you don’t care, do you? If you aren’t engaging or responding, you aren’t utilizing social media for its intention, a two-way conversation. It’s not smart to leave anyone hanging when it comes to user-generated content, like questions or concerns, on your social media accounts.
When I’m representing a brand through social media, I always try to respond to feedback. If it’s a “Hey, we love your stuff!” to a “Where are you located?” to a “Gosh, you guys really stink!” (Keeping it G-rated, mind you. Some comments can be brutal!), I will always try to respond with a different, unique response. What I mean by unique is canned responses annoy me and I feel they can play as a cop out for addressing the real issue, especially if it’s a complaint. No response at all is even worse because it truly looks as if you could care less, which shines a negative light on you and the brand. The worst thing I think you can do as a brand is making comment areas inaccessible, like the wall on Facebook or the comment section on YouTube.
Let’s turn the tables here for a second with an example from a friend. A friend of mine was preparing his schedule for an upcoming concert and had a question about the venue. The venue had a very active Facebook page with regular status updates as well as a lot of user-generated content. He asked a question on the Facebook wall that he couldn’t find an answer for elsewhere, including giving said venue a call, about a week before the concert. He waited and waited, starting to get frustrated with receiving no legitimate answers from anyone, and it wasn’t until the day of the show that he received a response on Facebook. He was completely irritated because he had to change his plans accordingly. If the page owner could have answered his question in a timely matter, perhaps in the same day, he wouldn’t have been so upset, putting a lot of the blame on the venue itself. It helps to answer questions, concerns and comments, even a simple ‘thank you’ if it’s just a few kind words, as soon as possible so consumers can see that you are there and you are willing to help. This further increases activity and engagement with your brand throughout all social media accounts.
So this doesn’t happen to you, make sure you are constantly monitoring your page, your YouTube channel, your Twitter @ mentions, and any other social site your brand inhabits. You’ll want to check notifications so you can quickly respond. A great tool that we use for Facebook, and that works well in real time, is Hyper Alerts. You can set it to alert you of a new posting on a page ASAP (as soon as posted) or it can gather comments daily. Hootsuite also makes it easy to monitor all feedback on Facebook and Twitter in one convenient dashboard.
To sum it all up, don’t leave your audience hanging when it comes to your social media accounts. It makes you, and the brand you’re representing, look bad from an outsider’s perspective. Engagement and two-way communication is key to social media, even if the communication is negative at times, so monitor every aspect and be sure to prove to your audience that you’re a trustworthy brand and you’re willing to help.
Do you have a way you handle comments across your social media accounts? Do you think it’s always good to respond? Why or why not?