Last week we posted a holiday checklist for PR professionals. One of the things we mentioned was automating social media posts. This is a brilliant idea that can save you a lot of time and ensure that your social presence is maintained while you are busy with other tasks. However, we don’t want to leave the impression that this means that your social media networks can go on auto-pilot for a couple of months. Quite the contrary. Yes, you can automate the process of posting to a certain degree, but you’d better also automate the process of listening.
According to Sprout Social, retailers should expect a 20% increase in social messages this holiday season. But only 1 in 6 people who ask a question through a social channel will actually get a response. Companies can be so focused on blasting out promotions, that they forget that social media is about conversations. People don’t want you to throw messages at them. They want you to communicate with them. In fact, according to Rosetta Consulting, people are 7 times more likely to respond to your promotions after you interact with them in some meaningful way.
Depending on how your company is organized, you may not be the person who is responsible for responding to customer service requests or questions on social media, but as a PR professional, you cannot abdicate your responsibility for protecting the reputation of your brand and ceasing opportunities to generate goodwill.
Social media monitoring helps you do this effectively and efficiently. When you are aware of relevant mentions, you can make sure that appropriate responses are forthcoming. You can get a sense of the conversation going on around your brand and participate proactively. As Tim Metha, of That Company told Sprout Social, “It's not enough to just respond to customer service requests: You have to join the conversations happening around your brand.”
According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, 26% of people who have a bad experience with a brand will talk about it on social media. The holidays are not the time to ignore those comments and leave them sitting there like a spill you forgot to mop up. With the right monitoring tools in place, you can help your organization build its online community, protect the brand’s reputation and make sure that customers are getting timely answers to inquiries.
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