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Creating a Social Customer Care Strategy that Drives Sales

Michael Waters
October 12, 2022
Learn how to create a customer care strategy on social media that helps you easily drive sales.

These days, people are increasingly discovering products on TikTok and Instagram. In fact, Insider Intelligence estimates that 39.9% of TikTok users will buy products directly from the platform by 2026.

That means just being available to field questions by phone or email is no longer enough. As more of your customers discover you on social media, they’ll also expect you to offer customer service solutions on these platforms.

What is customer care social media and how can it help your business?

Social media customer care is a way of engaging your shoppers across platforms. Whether it is responding to DMs on Instagram or to comments on TikTok, your social customer care strategy should involve addressing product-related questions of all stripes, on all social media platforms where you are active. 

Most brands think of customer service as happening after a sale. But only addressing post-sale inquiries is leaving a lot of money—and potential customers—on the table. 

Around 50% of your social media comments are pre-sale inquiries, where customers are interested in a product but need a little bit of information to get them across the threshold of making a purchase. 

Customer care social media plans will address both:

What are the benefits? When you develop a sophisticated customer care plan that spans multiple social media platforms, you can not only draw in new customers, but you can also convince your existing customers to buy from you more. 

Customers spend between 20% and 40% more on brands that engage with them on social media. 

How to create a social media customer care plan

#1. Decide which comments are worth your response. For as important as social media engagement is, you can’t possibly reply to every comment or DM you receive. 

You should make a taxonomy of social media comments, addressing which you want to respond to—and which you don’t need to.

Here are a few categories to watch out for: 

#2. Pay special attention to pre-sale inquiries. Here’s a scenario you will probably run into often on social media: a customer is interested in your product, but they have a question to solve before they make the purchase. These are the critical pre-sale interactions that brands need to nail in order to make a sale. 

A perfect example of a pre-sale inquiry comes from the TikTok account of the sunscreen brand Habit. A customer expresses interest in buying from Habit but wants to make sure they are buying the specific Habit product that meets their specification. This is a customer on the verge of making a purchase. You want to serve them a recommendation as quickly as possible to get them to go through with it. 

Other common pre-sale inquiries focus on a product’s pricing or availability (“is this for sale in Canada?”). Be sure to prioritize these—at Chatdesk, we’ve found that the faster brands address these comments, the more likely they can convert those inquiries into an actual sale.

#3. Partner with a service that knows the space well. At Chatdesk, we have extensive experience engaging with customers on TikTok, Instagram, and more. Chatdesk Teams provides you with a cost-saving ($1-3 per ticket) solution, which is cheaper than traditional customer service providers. 

Schedule a demo to see how Chatdesk can drive revenue for your brand.

Strategies for dealing with negative feedback online

It is inevitable: if you’re active on social media, you’re going to get some frustrated comments from customers. 

It can be scary to engage with a negative comment online. You don’t want to say the wrong thing or make an angry customer feel even more upset with your brand. But while it can be challenging to engage with negative comments, the smart move is to respond to negative comments more often than not.

Airlines that took more than 60 minutes to reply to a negative comment saw a much smaller bump: $2.33 more in spending.

A great route is to offer to apologize publicly and move the conversation to DM. That way, you can address the specifics of a customer’s issue, or even offer a refund or discount code to rectify the situation going forward, in a more personal setting where you can collect more specifics on what happened.

A great template for a comment like this is anything along the lines of, “We are so sorry happened. Can you DM us your order number so we can investigate a solution?” 

Instead, there’s a simple solution: if a comment is very negative or contains offensive language, you should hide the comment. To do this, you just have to identify certain keywords or offensive phrases that regularly appear in negative comments. Once you have those keywords, navigate to your profile, and create a filter that will automatically hide comments that contain offensive or rude phrases. 

A filter helps because it ensures you will deal with particularly harmful comments quickly. 63% of Gen Z users report that they expect brands to remove harmful or negative comments in under 60 minutes before it starts to sour their impression. 

3 Tips for responding to customers on social media

Become a resource for advice. The most successful brands don’t just answer direct questions about their products—they also offer tips about what you can do with their products. If you’re a food or drink brand, for instance, you want to be ready to give advice on recipes. 

Recently, the flour brand King Arthur posted a recipe for a chocolate lava cake on Instagram. The recipe called for a silicone cup. When one customer didn’t have that cup, they asked King Arthur for advice on a substitute, and King Arthur responded. 

(via King Arthur Instagram) 

These little pieces of advice might seem outside the wheelhouse of customer care on social media, but they make a critical difference. If your Instagram or TikTok page offers tips and resources on the practicalities of using your products, it’ll keep customers coming back.

Remember that not every social media channel functions the same way. Your best marketing channels for advertising may not necessarily be your best customer support channels. 

One recent study of popular food brands found that the average large brand fielded 701 DMs per week on Twitter, as opposed to just 109 per week on Facebook. Twitter may not be traditionally considered a major sales channel for brands, but it is one of the platforms that customers most often use to get in touch. You should allocate resources accordingly. 

Don’t leave it all up to personalized replies. No matter what you do, you’re going to get a lot of comments and DMs from customers on social media. That is inevitable. But there are also simple ways to reduce the volume of inquiries by adding self-service tools to your social media pages themselves. 

For instance, Instagram has a tool called Stories Highlights that allows brands to pin Stories to the top of their profile. TikTok has a roughly similar Playlists feature. Brands should use these tools to address some of the questions they are most frequently asked.

The vegan, gluten-free cookie brand DEUX is a great example of a Stories Highlights page done right. Right beneath the company’s Instagram bio, in on-brand coloring and fonts, it has a carousel of Instagram Stories that address common customer service questions.  

(DEUX Instagram)

As customers click through the “Find Us” Instagram Highlight, for instance, they see a list of all of the cities and locations where DEUX cookies are sold. The “FAQ” Highlight, meanwhile, answers questions like “How long does shipping take?” (DEUX’s answer: “we provide 2 day shipping!”) 

Replying to customers directly is critical to your social customer care strategy, but so is having some resources available on Instagram itself.

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