With new social media platforms being launched every year, it can be difficult to keep track of social media messages across every platform, especially if you’re managing multiple accounts. To make matters more complicated, social media user expectations are increasing. Users are leaning on social media more and more as a customer support channel, and are expecting brands to have lightning-fast response times.
For social media managers or agencies who are managing multiple clients across several different platforms, it can be difficult to keep track of messages, comments, and brand mentions. On top of this, social media managers need to vary their tone and messaging according to the brands they are working on and the social network they’re using. This can become an incredibly complex balancing act.
Yet social media can form a direct link to conversion, especially during your marketing campaigns. Failing to respond to messages on social media networks in a meaningful way can mean that you miss out on opportunities for connecting with users or even making sales. Therefore it pays (literally) to do it right.
Even though social media is often seen as a casual way to interact, customer service on social media should be no different than it is on any other channel, whether that be email, phone, or writing a letter.
When done well, social networks can become a key point of contact for brands, helping to funnel customers down the path to conversion. Here’s how to nail your social media management and manage your social media messages like a boss.
Why is Managing Your Social Media Messages So Important?
Nailing your social media management – also called community management – is an important task. Gone are the days when companies received one query on social media per week, and customers preferred to contact them via other means.
Today, even small businesses can receive a lot of queries, and even if they don’t (yet), the few queries they do receive may be important. Users making contact on social networks are often already primed for conversion. Almost a third of customers turn to social media channels to make pre-sales inquiries, so it’s worth your while to provide assistance when and where it’s needed.
These days, customer expectations when it comes to brands are sky high. Users treat social media as just another fully-fledged customer service channel, expecting fast response times, access to information, and professional customer service from businesses at all times.
A positive brand experience on social media can have far-reaching impacts. In fact, 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to friends and family, according to one study.
Another study conducted on Twitter suggests that responding to customer queries in less than four minutes can increase a customer’s basket size by an average of $17.18. Of course, responding within four minutes might not always be possible, but it just goes to show how critical a role social media community management plays.
Community management (when done well) has the power to help you connect with your customers, gather critical feedback, forge a collaborative community, boost engagement, and, ultimately, increase leads and sales. It’s a direct way to communicate with users who are on the brink of conversion – so why wouldn’t you want to give them one last push to make a sale? It’s far easier (not to mention cheaper!) than marketing to a cold audience.
Not to mention, you never know who is watching on social media! Anyone could be keeping an eye on your social media channels; potential investors, business partners, competitor brands, or even future employees. Having a neglected social media channel with unanswered queries isn’t ideal in any scenario.
If you’re not convinced yet, think about your other customer service channels. Social media should be treated no differently. If you have a social media channel that’s not being used, or you rarely get messages, keep scrolling, because we’ll discuss that, too!
How to Manage Social Media Messages – Even on Multiple Platforms
Community management isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s not just a matter of answering a few questions here and there. It’s also a matter of presenting a cohesive, professional front (especially when you have multiple team members responding to queries), providing accurate information, selling your product or services, and building a devoted online community who wants to keep coming back for more.
Having streamlined systems in place creates a smoother workflow and ensures that you don’t miss any important user questions or comments, especially during a big marketing campaign. It’s also critical in crisis situations. Sure, things might be peachy now, but what happens when a social media post turns into a negative press nightmare, one of your influencers goes rogue, or you have a product issue? There will inevitably be one or two issues that are bound to pop up in the future, even if they’re relatively minor. When they do, you want to have processes in place to manage them effectively. Here’s how.
1. Create Social Media Marketing Guidelines
If you have a number of different people managing your social media accounts, the first thing you want to do is create a set of community management guidelines to govern the way you and your team should be responding to customers.
Ideally, this should include things like:
Depending on your brand, how large your social channels are, and how many people are working on your social media profiles, you may want to add additional detail within your guidelines or even conduct training sessions to ensure that your account is managed consistently.
2. Create Automated Responses
When it comes to social media marketing, it’s not always possible to respond to users in real time. But there are ways to make things easier. With the surge in users on social media, many brands have embraced automation. Countless brands have utilized AI chatbot to assist them in managing the rising number of messenger inquiries and comments they’re receiving.
What is a chatbot, you ask? A chatbot is essentially just a robot that chats! When a user sends you a message on a social network, a chatbot can send them a greeting, then ask them a series of questions and provide them with information. This can drastically cut down the time your team needs to spend on community management.
Why? Well, you may not have masses of queries coming in every single day, but even if you’re only receiving 1-2 messages per day, you still want to respond to them in a timely, professional manner. Not to mention the fact that responding to queries sporadically can take a large amount of time out of your day. Chatbots allow you to present a professional front, yet give you the time to respond to users when you can.
Also, let’s face it; most customers are asking the same five questions over and over again. Chatbots assist your business to answer the most frequently asked questions with a set of standard responses.
This allows your business to take care of simple queries instantly, without even having to lift a finger. Your team can always answer more complicated queries later on. This is automation at its finest!
There are several platforms you can use to set up chatbots within your social media channels. Platforms such as Heyday and Chatfuel can help you set up chatbots within Facebook Messenger and Instagram Messages to manage the influx of messages when you’re not around.
Most of these chatbots have messaging templates you can use, yet are customizable, allowing you to tailor them to use your brand voice. They allow you to set up standard questions and responses to the most frequently asked questions received from your audience.
3. Use a Consistent Tone of Voice
Consistency is key when it comes to customer service. A consistent tone of voice appears professional, is reassuring to your customers and helps you maintain your social media presence, no matter which social network you’re using.
It also means that any one of your team members can easily pick up conversations with customers and sound exactly the same, no matter who they are.
If you haven’t already, create a tone of voice guidelines document. It might be a part of a wider social media marketing guide for your brand, or it might sit on its own.
It only needs to be a few pages long, but it should include:
This also makes it far easier if your community manager/s needs to leave, or someone needs to step in to help when they are away.
4. Respond Promptly to All Messages and Comments
We’ve already established just how important it is to manage social media messages, and why. Part of this involves responding to all messages, comments, and queries promptly. There’s little point in responding to a product inquiry days after a customer writes to you. By that time (depending on the customer and their desire for your product) they’ll have likely either bought what they were looking for elsewhere or contacted you another way.
For messages, try to respond within 24 hours on business days, and on Monday aim to spend extra time catching up on any weekend messages.
For comments, consider the context of a comment. You should aim to respond to:
Users will often tag their friends and family in the comments on posts. You don’t need to respond to any message directed to others unless it’s relevant to your brand or you’d like to engage with your followers.
You also need to moderate (i.e. hide comments or report or block users) activity that could be considered spam, inappropriate, or offensive.
Consider allocating extra resources for managing social media messages during a marketing campaign, especially a large one. This might include product launches or busy periods like Christmas or Valentine’s Day.
5. Tailor Your Social Media Content to Meet User Needs
Instead of reactively responding to user queries and comments, why not get ahead of the curve? Give the people what they want with customized social media content based solely on your social media users’ feedback.
Social listening is an important part of social media management. Social media should be just that; social! It’s not just a one-way street. Therefore, social media monitoring using marketing tools – or even just manually, if you have the time – is critical.
Curate your social media posts based on what you’re seeing and hearing when you and your team do community management. Collate all the feedback, and then create social media content to address specific issues and questions you keep getting.
For example, if users are asking:
You can also do a series of Polls or Questions on Instagram to discover what users want to see. Invite users to message you via your social inbox. Then recycle these ideas and use the responses to shape your social media content. After all, it should mean a boost in engagement, because you’ll be posting the things users actually want to see.
6. Invest In The Best Social Media Management Tools
Following all these complicated rules around community management sounds difficult, and it can be. Fortunately, there are plenty of marketing tools out there to help. There are countless social media management platforms available that can speed up your response times and transform you into a community management whiz.
The best social media management tools allow you to do everything. For instance, Sked Social is an all-in-one social media management tool, offering everything from in-depth competitor analysis to scheduling, file storage, and opportunities to collaborate with your team on content creation and amendments.
The great thing about Sked Social is that it really offers beginning-to-end social media management. Instead of having five different tools for different social media tasks, you can simply use one tool, all wrapped up in one cost. That said, there are a range of pricing models based on your needs.
Having a marketing tool that helps you schedule content can save you hours every week. Create your content calendar, come up with a posting schedule, export your images and videos from Canva, and schedule content all using the one tool.
The best social media management software is typically available on a monthly paid plan, but many marketing tools offer the option to trial their service before you commit to a long-term paid plan.
Try out Sked Social using our 7-day trial today.
7. Invest in Social Media Monitoring
Marketing and analytics tools can help you conduct social listening. By keeping an ear to the ground, you’ll be more likely to be able to manage any negative queries directly, which will limit the potential for fallout.
This is especially important if you’re a small business working in industries such as the food industry, healthcare, child services industries, education, aviation, travel, or any other industry which involves holding some responsibility for user’s health and safety.
If you don’t have comprehensive social media monitoring systems in place, a very small complaint could snowball quickly, leaving you with a viral post that could bring negative attention to your brand.
When it comes to digital marketing, there are so many analytics tools that can be used for reporting that capture a range of metrics across various channels. Marketing tools like Google Analytics and Google My Business are great for capturing data for your WordPress site or website but having dedicated social media management software is crucial.
Some social media channels have their own dedicated insights features, but these tend to be quite limited. And, ideally, you don’t want to be exporting different reports from your Instagram account, your Twitter account, and your Facebook page, as well as scanning RSS feeds, checking Google Analytics, looking at TweetDeck, and pulling various other data points to capture all your digital activity!
Invest in an all-in-one social media monitoring tool that covers all your social media networks. Then, export one simple report every month. Review your progress and refine your social media strategy if required. Too easy!
8. Create an Escalation Process
Any good social media manager has an escalation process for social media comments – and if you don’t, you should create one now!
A social media escalation process is simple; it outlines what to do when users ask specific questions or have particular issues. It might work the same way as your typical customer service escalation process. An escalation process looks different for every business, as every business has unique challenges and a different team structure.
Your escalation process might work like a flow chart, or it could simply be a categorization system where different queries get categorized and allocated to different teams according to its urgency and complexity.
What If I Don’t Use a Social Channel?
If you or your brand has a social media channel that you’re not using – for instance, you have a YouTube channel but you’re only using it to host videos temporarily or for a specific reason, read on.
Essentially you have a few options in this scenario.
Close The Account
First up, consider closing the account. We know, you want to be on every social media platform under the sun. But having a dormant account sitting unused is pointless, and it becomes a black hole for any customer who visits it. Questions go unanswered, your engagement rates shoot down, and it’s just another thing you have to worry about. You can delete the page entirely or you can always archive your posts and keep your handle for use in the future. Be sure to mention somewhere on the page that it’s an inactive account, however.
Go Into “Maintenance Mode”
Secondly, consider keeping the account and using a “maintenance” strategy. This could include posting every week or so, or using the same posts that you use on other channels but tweaking the copy or mixing it up slightly. You could also check messages on the account once a week. This is where a chatbot might be useful, too. You could send an automated response to tell users that the channel isn’t monitored, and provide alternative contact details.
Make a Last Attempt
Lastly, consider actually using the channel. Incorporate it into your social media strategy for the next six months and make an effort to post and engage on the platform. Encourage cross-platform migration from your other social networks. Host competitions, use influencers, or try some other new tactics you’ve never tried before. If you’re still not seeing results then delete the channel and focus your efforts on a different social media platform.
Manage Your Social Media Messages With Sked Social
If you want to level up your social media game, it’s critical that you have the right marketing tools to support your team. Intuitive social media management tools like Sked Social can help you streamline your entire team’s workflow. Sked Social is an all-in-one social media management tool with powerful scheduling capabilities and advanced reporting functionality which can provide you with unique insights, allowing you to optimize your social media strategy by making your social media management tasks simpler, all in a single dashboard.
Its reporting features will enable you to create regular automated reports based on a range of reporting metrics. All these insights are so valuable in helping you to link data to your CRM system, fine-tune your social media marketing strategy, and boost sales activity.
Apart from its advanced reporting functionality, Sked Social also includes a social media scheduler, which allows you to automatically schedule posts for every major social media platform, including Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, your Facebook pages, and plenty of other social networks, saving you hours each week! You can even bulk schedule your posts, and you don’t need to receive notifications to post – our scheduling tool will post for you automatically!
Schedule posts, tweets, and add hashtags, locations, and product tags all in one go. You’ll never have to post on a weekend again! Use the link shortener and hashtag suggestions to make posting as simple as possible.
Sked Social even has a mobile app, suitable for both iOS and Android, which allows you to connect, monitor progress for your marketing campaigns, or cancel scheduled posts on the fly, if you need to.
Don’t believe us? Try it yourself by starting with a free plan. Sign up for Sked’s 7-day trial today. You won’t regret it!