5 Things You Must Know About Social Media Messaging
- May 1, 2018
- By Adam Preston
What a fast and unstable road it has been. It was only about seven years ago when we all started clamoring toward social media as a means to grow our brands and businesses. And now, as we sit here in 2018, it seems that a new trend — messaging — is about to again rewrite the rules to everything we do on a daily basis.
Social media messaging — most think of it as “email” within a platform — has changed the way we interact with each other, especially in the hunting, shooting and outdoor sports industry. If you haven’t paid attention recently, you should, because the social media messaging business is on a bull run.
Here are five things you need to know about what’s going on with messaging:
1. This is No Time for Automation
Automation might be great for a company making physical products that require assembly — arrows, broadheads, releases, sights, etc., but the messaging business is one that still requires a human interaction.
On platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, this means direct messages from fans, friends and customers (current and future). With tens of thousands of fans on your pages, it might be tempting to set up an auto-reply for whenever someone sends a DM to your page. If you’re thinking of doing that, don’t. Or at least think long and hard about it. Auto-replies are more often than not met with negative feelings from customers, especially if they are trying to have a problem solved or need more information on your product and/or service.
According to Buffer.com, 63 percent of retail customers said they view businesses more positively if the business directly responds to their social media messages. Nearly the same two-thirds majority say they believe the business cares about them if it has direct interaction via social media messaging, and 55 percent said they are more likely to trust the business. These numbers in and of themselves speak volumes to the importance of DMs.
2. Speed Kills (Your Business)
Well, lack thereof will kill your business if you’re not careful. This is the digital age. You can’t turn off the lights and go home for the weekend (and never check your DMs) if you plan to exist in the digital space for long.
If you have taken the time to set up social pages, you need to have individuals manning them as close to 24/7 as possible. In an eMarketer.com study, 54 percent of Twitter users said they expect a reply from a company they send a DM to within an hour. That number increased to 72 percent from people who left a negative comment.
3. Replies Must be Professional
If you’re a one man or woman show, then you had better brush up on your grammar, punctuation and keyboarding skills if you expect to be composing all of the replies to your fans/customers. Good customer service is all about those first impressions. This means full sentences, greetings and salutations and, above all, an adherence to the credence: the customer is always right. If you ignore their direct messages, you will lose their business.
You don’t have to befriend everyone who sends you a DM. Think of it no differently than having an old land -line telephone in your shop or office. If someone calls, you had better be professional, courteous and willing to do whatever it takes to make him or her happy.
4. Think of Messaging as the Last Stop
Social media is still so new to many of us that we think of sheer number of fans, likes, shares and website conversations as the end result. Those numbers are important and do bring us closer to increased exposure, but they don’t quite move the needle like good, old-fashioned sales. However, the case here is that messaging is more important because it is an immediate indication of true human interaction. Even if the messenger is filing a complaint, you know you have their full attention. Here’s your chance to make an impact by showing them you’re truly interested in making customer service your #1 priority.
When the messages flow in, this is your opportunity to provide information, solves problems, streamline a customer’s buying decision or merely interact with them to show them you care enough to engage them. Sometimes this mere engagement is what turns them from a fan into a lifetime customer. Loyalty can never be purchased. It can only be earned.
5. Think Beyond the Platforms
The downside to social media messaging is that every platform has its own version. Facebook and Twitter make it pretty easy; both messaging systems are essentially email inboxes within the networks. Instagram is a little more tricky (or should I say cumbersome?) because these interactions are typically embedded within each post. But again, if you’re taking the time to build out these networks, you need to have a plan — and a point person or team of members — who will roll up their sleeves and answer each and every message that arrives.
No sweat, right? Well … not so fast. Despite the fact that social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn) have more than 3.5 billion users (with a “b”) each month, messaging apps have more. According to Buffer.com, WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat and Vine combined for a staggering 4 billion users at the start of this year. Of those users, more than 50 percent said they are more likely to do business with someone who they can message within an app and received a timely, professional reply. Even more eye opening: Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they would rather send a direct message than pick up the phone and call.
When it comes down to it, people today are really no different than what they were 20, 30 or even 40 years ago. They not only want but also expect excellent customer service, and they want it now. When it comes time for communicating with a business, they also want to deal with a real person — even if that means texting them rather than talking to them.
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