Friday, 26 April 2013

Your Customers’ Comments on Social Media: Listen, Respond & Learn

Did you know that “56% of customer tweets to companies are being ignored.”? (source: AllTwitter) That’s scary.  One of the most functional aspects of social media platforms is their ability to provide you with insight pertaining to how your business is perceived by others.  Why would anyone want to ignore that?  More to the point, what’s the purpose of putting together and maintaining a social presence for your business if you’re not going to pay attention and use it to your advantage?  And yes, that includes reading and responding to customer comments, inquiries and most especially, complaints.  

No one takes particularly well to negative criticism and complaining.  And if you want to keep your head buried in the sand and not know what people are really thinking, then perhaps networking your business via social platforms isn't for you!  But, why not look at it this way:  Every negative comment, complaint and criticism you receive is an opportunity to glean valuable information and to implement positive change.  Feedback, whether positive or negative, is never a bad thing.

How to Respond to Negative Comments & Criticism

Let’s identify the different types of negative comments & deal with them accordingly:

1.  If a comment is negative but polite and offers some constructive criticism and/or suggestions as to how to remedy the issue at hand, that’s great!  Take into serious consideration what the poster is telling you and decide if it makes sense for your business.  Respond by thanking the poster for bringing the issue to your attention and for his suggestions, and validate him by letting him know that you will take said suggestions under advisement.

2.  If a comment is negative and carries an irate tone and the poster is lodging more of a complaint than criticism, again, you want to validate his feelings. Placate him. Start by letting him know that you’re sorry to hear of his less than satisfactory interaction with your business and that you appreciate his forthrightness.  Let him know that you value his business and that you’ll do what’s called for to remedy the issue.  It warranted, offer him an incentive to ensure that he remains a faithful customer (a partial rebate, service free of charge next time, etc.).  He’ll appreciate this, be satisfied and will likely want to spread the word that yours is a wonderful company to deal with!  Customer service at its finest.

3.  If a comment is negative, unconstructive, deprecating and/or rude, things can get a little dicier.  While you want to try to keep your customers happy, you in no way have to be subjected to rudeness and insensitivity.  You have two options in this case, and either one would be justifiable. 

First, you could simply delete the comment and ignore it.  Again, it’s written nowhere that you have to put up with someone else’s bad behavior.  (And, although it might be tempting, whatever you do, don’t respond in kind by letting him know what an @$#%!@#% he is.  I posted a few months back on how to NOT respond to customer complaints.)

The other option is for you to try to deal with this Neanderthal as you would the poster in point #2 above.  Try to placate him and let him know that you’re sorry that his dealings with your business were less than satisfactory.  You just might be able to calm the savage beast, but often, people like that are not to be satisfied no matter what you do.  In fact, more often than not, these people just want to get something for nothing, or simply love to stir up trouble. Bear in mind also, that this poster could be a competitor just trying to play hardball with you.
If, however, there is some merit to the poster’s outrage (someone in your organization made a real blunder), it might be worth investigating.  Only you can know and decide for sure if there might be something behind a poster’s emotional outcry.  If there is a serious internal problem (and I’m not saying that the poster is any more justified in being rude if that’s the case) it might be just as well that it was brought to your attention, even if it was in such a negative manner.

The moral of the story is that it’s never okay to ignore your customers on social media sites.  If you do, you might just wind up not having any customers to ignore!  

Friday, 12 April 2013

Want Your Posts to go Viral? On Social Media, Timing Is Everything

Ah, the busy life of the business professional – good for you if you’ve implemented a social media campaign strategy into your hectic schedule.  But, did you know that there are certain times of the day and specific days of the week that the content you post is more likely to go viral?  According to data put forth on, it’s true! 

The data indicate, for example, that on Twitter, “posting in the afternoon earlier in the week is your best chance at achieving a high click count (1-3pm Monday through Thursday). Posting after 8pm should be avoided. Specifically, don’t bother posting after 3pm on a Friday since, as far as being a gateway to drive traffic to your content, it appears that Twitter doesn’t work on weekends.”

This does make a lot of sense if you think about it – how productive, after all, do you think most people are after 3:00 on Friday?  The research furthermore maintains that the peak of Twitter activity occurs prior to the optimal time to post.  Twitter’s busiest time tends to be between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, Monday through Thursday.  Should you post on Twitter during its peak hours, while there are more people clicking, it might raise the average number of clicks, however, your posts may not be receiving all the attention they deserve due to the fact that there will obviously be more competition for this attention. 

For Facebook, the data states that, Links posted from 1pm to 4pm result in the highest average click throughs. The peak time of the week was on Wednesday at 3pm. Links posted after 8pm and before 8am will have more difficulty achieving high amounts of attention. As with Twitter, avoid posting on the weekends.”  It appears that Facebook traffic tends to peak around the middle of the week, from the hours of 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm and begins to fade more after 4:00 pm.  Moreover, the research contends that although traffic counts are comparable at 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm, if you post at 7:00 pm, you will garner more clicks than you would posting at 8:00 pm.

With respect to Tumblr, one of our  favorite blogging sites, there’s currently a vast difference from Twitter and Facebook.  The data from Bitly show that posting on Tumblr after 4:00 pm stands to garner optimal results, and that, “…postings after 7pm on average receive more clicks over 24 hours than content posted mid-day during the week. Friday evening, a no-man’s land on other platforms, is an optimal time to post on Tumblr. Bitly traffic from Tumblr peaks between 7pm and 10pm on Monday and Tuesday, with similar traffic on Sunday. ”

So, there you have it – valuable information on optimal times to post on three of the most prevalent social media sites out there.  As you’re undoubtedly pressed for time on most days of your life, knowing what times it’s most worth posting will help with your strategy!