Social media are websites and applications that allow users to create unique content and share it with other online users. Social media is interactive and promotes self-expression in the form of photos, videos, text posts, and GIFs.
The pioneers of social media were MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube followed by Twitter and Instagram. Nowadays, there are thousands of popular social media apps and websites including LinkedIn, TikTok, Medium, LINE, and Google+, just to name a few.
The biggest social media platforms as of 2020 are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit. To give you an understanding of the impact social media has, Facebook alone has over 2.45 billion active monthly users. According to Statista, during the last reported quarter, Facebook stated that 3.14 billion people were using at least one of the company’s core products (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Messenger) each month.
Considering that as of September 2020, the current world population is 7.8 billion, nearly half of the world is active on some sort of social media owned by Facebook. If you can comprehend these numbers, you can truly start to understand the power that social media has.
Social media can start trends and end careers. Because social media is an extension of freedom of expression and freedom of speech, people aren’t afraid to voice their opinions about anything. Meme accounts, beauty YouTubers, even the average Twitter user — literally anyone and everyone can be called out for being insensitive, racist, or politically incorrect.
A perfect example of this is the cancel culture that many public figures have experienced due to offensive posts they’ve made on social media in the past. Posting on social media leaves a sort of digital footprint. Anything you’ve ever posted online is on the Internet forever, even after you delete it. Other users can take screenshots, download the videos, and repost them over and over across the web and other social media.
Another example of how powerful social media is, are all the trends that pop up. This can be from TikTok dances to Harlem Shakes or Ice Bucket Challenges — you name it. Anyone and everyone can bring awareness to any issue they see fit, given they have a large enough following to influence others.
Social media customer service is a must because it’s an ‘always on’ channel that’s used by the majority of the world. As such, customers expect replies to their social media queries much sooner than on traditional channels such as email. In fact, customers using social media expect businesses to reply to their queries within an hour.
Moreover, customers often turn to social media as a last resort to contact customer support. Often times emails go unanswered and calls go straight to voicemail. Customers can understand businesses are swamped with tickets, however when they see a business actively posting on social media while ignoring social media messages, customers get frustrated.
As a result of their frustration, they can lash out and ‘air your dirty laundry out in public.’ For example, they could say that they’ve ordered a product from you, it arrived broken, and you’re refusing to give them a refund. If other customers pick up on this or read in in comments etc, your business reputation will be tarnished.
Prospective customers will be less inclined to purchase from you, and existing customers can add to the fire with their negative experiences. However, all this can be avoided by simply acknowledging your customers and their problems by responding to their comments and messages on social media.
Moreover, responding to customer questions and engaging with your audience can be a boost for your social media presence, brand awareness and, even sales. By engaging with your customers on social media, your responses can give you positive traction.
To track your social media engagement, look at the number of comments, likes, and shares your posts get.
However, if you want to go beneath the surface, and see what’s being said about your business on social media (that you’re not explicitly tagged or mentioned in) you’ll need to use social listening tools.
Social listening tools let you track specific keywords and notify you every time they’re used on social media. For example, if you choose to track the word “LiveAgent”, every time the word is mentioned in a Tweet or comment (even if it’s not tagged with a #hashtag or mentioned with an @), it will be automatically sent to your social listening dashboard.
From there, you can review the Tweet, and assess how you should respond.
Social listening tools allow you to engage with customers. But that’s not all. Advanced tools like LiveAgent can improve your agent’s productivity and effectiveness at work. How?
Advanced social listening tools like LiveAgent connect with your favorite social media networks. LiveAgent then fetches all comments, messages, and mentions from these platforms into a single dashboard and converts them into tickets.
Having a system like this in place minimizes distractions because support agents can reply to all queries directly from the system’s dashboard. In essence, agents won’t have to log in to the platforms themselves to respond to customers.
Why is this beneficial? Agents won’t have a chance to get distracted by their social media feeds. Instead, they’ll be able to answer query after query without any disruptive memes or viral videos.
Because social media customer service tools centralize and streamline all customer queries into a single dashboard, there’s a much lower chance of losing track of comments, messages, and mentions.
If agents have to respond to social media queries manually (by logging in to each platform) it will be hard to keep up with the hundreds of notifications that you’ve received. A tool like LiveAgent will store all social media tickets and mark them as unread until the ticket is manually marked as answered.
Thanks to this, there’s even a lower chance of agents accidentally opening a ticket and forgetting to answer it.
Tools like LiveAgent ensure that your customer’s data is secure. Because all tickets are fetched into a single dashboard, your support agents won’t have the need to share login credentials for different social media accounts with each other.
This minimizes the chance of getting locked out of a social network, being hacked, leaving a device logged in on a computer that’s not secure, etc.
So, how does it all work? How do you connect your social networks with a social media customer service tool like LiveAgent? It all works through the application programming interface (API).
An API key defines interactions between multiple software. In essence, an API key defines how data is transferred, showed, and what actions can be taken. For example, a Facebook/LiveAgent API key can define that LiveAgent can fetch data from Facebook and that LiveAgent users can reply to Facebook posts from their LiveAgent dashboard.
What social media customer service tools does LiveAgent offer? Currently, we have working integrations with:
LiveAgent’s Facebook integration allows users to:
Learn more about our Facebook integration.
LiveAgent’s Twitter integration allows users to:
Learn more about our Twitter integration.
LiveAgent’s Instagram integration allows users to:
Learn more about our Instagram integration.
LiveAgent’s Viber integration allows users to:
Learn more about our Viber integration.
When people turn to social media to get customer service, businesses need to listen and make the most out of the situation.
But it’s not just that, as social media customer service goes way beyond a purchase. More often than not, people look to social media to make sure that they’re talking about a legitimate brand, with actual, real ratings and no bots replying to inquiries.
Therefore, social media has changed the whole way customer service really works: The whole prospect-lead-customer cycle is starting to look a little bit different, seeing as a prospect needs to be treated like an already existing customer nowadays.
Below, I have gathered some of the most important tips and tricks that will help any and all brands with their customer service strategy and endeavors, when it comes to providing excellent customer service through social media channels.
There are more than enough social media platforms for your brand to have profiles in. But it’s only logical that you’ll need to focus your endeavors on your main one, be it Facebook or Twitter.
So, first in order of business will be to check your data for two key components: First of all, you’ll need to find where your platform is mentioned the most.
Secondly, you’ll need to take a look at your target audience, create buyer personas and see which platform is frequented by your ideal customer, the most.
You’ll also see a certain tip many times: Create a separate account for customer queries. In my opinion, this would be useful for a company like Nike. If you’re an SME, avoiding that would be better for you, really.
The reason is that you need to get your brand out there, therefore, you can’t confuse your prospects with a lot of different accounts. Not just yet, anyway.
It may be difficult, but you’ll need to make sure to leave no question unanswered and no mention untapped.
You’ll need to do this, in order to, first of all, help your prospects make sure that your customer service team is a group of dedicated agents and not a group of robots.
That’s the whole point of live chat anyway and customers really appreciate it when they’re talking to a real live person, as it makes them feel valued and like they’re part of a lively community.
What is more, prospects and customers need things to be resolved quickly, efficiently, but not in a faceless manner. So, the least a brand can do is acknowledge the prospect’s social media query within the day at latest, seeing as the average response time expected is 60 minutes, more or less.
If that 60-minute margin doesn’t seem to be enough, there is something you can do: use integrations and tools such as LiveAgent’s Facebook and Twitter channel integration that will help you keep up with everything you need to track.
Your KPIs are essentially what pinpoints the real meaning of success when it comes to your business and the kinds of goals you’d like your team to achieve.
You’ll need to determine your KPIs before setting up your guidelines, as they’ll be the ones to make or break any strategy you may have in mind.
So, just try and determine a couple of things.
The answers to those questions are going to be your team’s guidelines.
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What I mean by that is not, of course, ignoring your customers’ mentions and queries.
What you’ll need to do would be to determine whether or not you can take the time to acknowledge each and every one.
For SMEs, answering any and all mentions-positive or negative-can lead to increased engagement rates. So, if you are a part of the SME category, you should consider engaging in social listening.
Your agents should be mindful of the messages your social media pages receive, reply to mentions (positive or negative, to increase engagement), take great care of queries and so on and so forth.
But still, a good volume of your queries may go unnoticed. Therefore, an FAQ page linked in your homepage would definitely do the trick for you.
And make sure to take the conversation somewhere private or, better yet, offline when a customer needs to give you any personal details.
If you absolutely need to use bots, program them to be able to answer the simple questions. If they can’t answer, give them the option of informing your community that an agent will get back to them.
And since bots cannot do everything by themselves, make sure that your customer service or community management team always checks those queries. You wouldn’t want prospects to be checking daily, only for you to reply after a week.
A little empathy goes a long way after all, and prospects will feel valued if they see that you didn’t just use a bot to do your job for you.
All these interactions, as I said before, will help you gather data. You should be able and prepared to use that data wisely.
Train your teams according to that data and make sure that they’ve got everything down before they continue.
What do I mean by that?
First of all, train your teams according to your target group’s age.
Different age groups require different types of attention:
A member of the Baby-Boomer generation will need a whole different kind of assistance, compared to a Gen-Z or a Millennial user, who will need to figure out more complex things.
Your data will also show you how to improve your other platforms and your website.
It will also give you insight on how to improve your email marketing strategy, how to segment your lists, even what kind of email templates can work for each age, location or income group.
This will help your brand gain recognition and positive reviews, on top of everything else.
Whether the problem was resolved or not, you should always follow up with your prospects’ queries.
Some brands give up the quest if they address the problem and their prospect doesn’t get back to them, which is not the best way to go, especially when you want to build a strong social media community.
You should always make sure that the problem has been resolved and that your prospect or customer doesn’t need anything else. If your team is able to give them all the answers they were looking for, then they’re bound to become loyal customers.
Customer service through social media is becoming a staple and it shouldn’t go unnoticed.
And social media channels may be something different, something not yet explored by many users and brands, but the customer service skills any agent should have, remain the same:
Active listening, empathy, adaptability and a genuine interest to make sure that the customer will get what they need in the end.Back to Academy
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