Social media is a big part of both consumers’ and business’ daily online interactions. Savvy financial organizations make the most of it by managing their social media pages to build brand recognition and product conversions. Social media is also used to manage the brand’s reputation among current accountholders and prospects. How the current ones are treated is the foundation for further marketing efforts, especially for a financial institution which sells services as well as products.
A company wouldn’t let its customer service phone go unanswered, and it’s just as important not to ignore online inquiries, especially since studies by J.D. Power and Associates show that social media users and the general public are slightly more inclined to share a poor experience rather than share a positive one.
Remember social media is also a customer service function. Treat it as such:
- Respond in a timely manner. Social media users expect answers immediately. Best practice would be to treat the interaction as if the user had called on the phone and respond within 15 minutes of the original inquiry. If this is not a realistic goal based on your company’s resources, make sure to answer within 24 hours. Anything beyond that seems inappropriate in the fast-paced world of social media.
- Be consistent. Institute guidelines for how to answer the most common social media inquiries. There should also be consistency through all platforms; the professionalism a customer receives on the phone or in person needs to translate to social media interactions.
- Show empathy and work towards a solution. It is easy to come off as robotic and uncaring when the user cannot hear your tone of voice. Make the commitment to solving the problem clear and give the user a way to get in touch if the issue cannot be resolved right away.
- Respond in kind. If the user messages publicly, it is important to respond back in the same forum rather than using another platform. It is just as important that the community sees the response as the customer who is asking the question.
- Be mindful of user inquiries before posting current promotions. Don’t be afraid to change the social media promotional schedule and run a different promotion based on what the community is talking about. Did a user ask a mortgage question? This may be the time to run the latest mortgage messaging while also answering with sound advice.
When managing a company’s reputation on social media, it is just as important to respond to the positive inquiries as the negative ones. The above rules are a starting point for healthy social media interactions to support future promotions and, eventually, brand credibility. Do you have some social media tips that work for your bank or credit union? We’d like to hear them.