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The Only Social Media Support Guide You’ll Need for Customer Service

Michael Waters
October 13, 2022
Not only is social media a great way to connect with potential and current customers, but it's also an invaluable tool for providing customer care.

In today's digital age, social media is one of the most powerful tools that businesses have at their disposal. Not only is it a great way to connect with potential and current customers, but it's also an invaluable tool for providing customer care.

However, social media can be a channel of extremes. When done well (you respond quickly and engage with your audience), social media can be a major differentiator for your business and help you build a loyal customer base. On the other hand, if you’re not responding and leaving social support to chance without a defined strategy, you may be putting your brand’s hard-earned reputation on the line. 

In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to craft a dependable social customer care strategy for your brand.

First, let’s understand how social is different from traditional support channels.

Social vs E-mail, Phone, and Chat: 4 Key Differences in Customer Engagement

  1. Comments and replies are public. 

E-mail, phone, and chat are private channels of communication, so a customer’s experiences are less likely to be publicly shared. But social media comments work a little differently.

On one hand, when a customer has a positive experience with a business on social media, they can broadcast that experience with their followers, which can generate word-of-mouth marketing for the business. On the other hand, a bad interaction in the comments can fuel negative sharing. 

Public comments mean brands need to stay consistent to their brand voice and guidelines when replying to comments DM’s—and unfortunately, they also need to stay on top of poor replies going viral. 

  1. You will see a broader range of customer engagement on social. 

The inquiries you get on email and by phone are usually customer service questions about a sale that has happened like “How do I process a return?” or “What’s the status of my order?” 

Engagement on social media is broader. It ranges from referrals to influencer collaboration requests to pre-sales inquiries. We’ll go over the 10 types in the next section. For now, here’s a good example of the kinds of everyday comments brands receive on social media, from both new and existing customers:

(Blueland on Instagram)

  1. Expectations on response times are faster. 

People expect brands to respond much faster on social media than on email. According to market research from Sprout Social, 79% of customers expect to hear back from a brand within 24 hours—and a full 40% expect a response in the first hour. 

Customers can reach out to a business on social media and receive a response in real-time. This is not always the case with email, phone, and chat, which can have slower response times. 

Unfortunately, many brands leave a lot of comments and DMs completely unanswered, which misses out on potential sales.

  1. Social media goes beyond the problem and the transaction. 

Remember—people who follow you on social are more likely to feel connected to your brand and, therefore, more likely to engage with your content. This can lead to loyalty and repeat business. 

E-mail, phone, and chat are less personal forms of communication, so they are less effective at building relationships with customers. Social is actually a strategic channel for your customer retention since it’s all about community engagement.

The 10 Types of Customer Engagement You Get on Social

Not all interactions on social media channels are equal. Savvy brands should build a taxonomy of social media comments and create guidelines outlining how to respond to each type of comment. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

What you don’t need to respond to: 

What you should consider responding to: 

Or, all of the above.

Take, for instance, the home brand Parachute, which recently opened a new store in Boulder, Colorado. When a customer welcomed them to Boulder, Parachute said thank you and encouraged the customer to drop by: 

(Parachute on Instagram)

Little comments like this go a long way toward building a sense of community. 

Chatdesk experts can help you identify your pre-sales comments and respond quickly while keeping perfectly on-brand.

You can see an example from the swimwear brand Andie. Here, a product in an Instagram video caught the eye of a potential customer. Andie quickly gave them the name of the product. 

(Andie on Instagram)

You can either address them directly or ask the person to send a DM so you can follow up (particularly for situations where you need their email or address to handle their issue).

It depends: 

5 Steps to Managing Social Comments & DM’s Efficiently

  1. Establish easy-to-access FAQ’s in your social profile. You can build these directly off of social media tools, such as Stories Highlights on Instagram and Playlists on TikTok. Both of these tools allow accounts to pin content to the tops of their profiles.
  1. Use the built-in features to start: Facebook, Instagram all have free easy to use tools to help you manage and respond to messages. 

The sauce brand Truff, for instance, uses the Playlists tool on TikTok to highlight recipes that feature its products. The recipe playlist is displayed just below its bio, so it’s easy for new customers to find. 

  1. Set up the built-in auto responder for DMs that welcomes the customer and asks the common questions (e.g., Do you have a question about our products? I need your order number to look up your account). You can do this on Instagram and Facebook and now even on TikTok
  1. If you’re a founder, it’s actually better to do it yourself at first so you can learn what kind of inquiries you’re getting and how you want to represent your brand. That will help your team set the right brand voice moving forward.
  1. As your volume grows you can use a service like Chatdesk to respond to all your messages.

Turn social into 10% higher sales and satisfaction with Chatdesk.

Your social followers are already primed to purchase. With fast, on-brand responses, Chatdesk CX experts regularly achieve both a 15%+ increase in conversion on Facebook & Instagram ads and 90+ NPS. Schedule a demo to learn more or check case studies here.

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