Engagement across your social media platforms can be broken down into 3 basic categories of commenters. Speaking from professional experience, I've found that the first step to great engagement is to spot the spam bots. You'll usually notice their obviously auto-generated emoji responses. Once you take those out of the equation and focus on actual human interactions, the real marketing can begin. While every marketer will have a different approach on how best to respond to the three following categories of commenters, here's our advice:
#1. The Loyal Fans/Followers:
This sub-set of commenters should hopefully make up the bulk of your brand's daily social media interactions, which is a good thing! If you're getting regular reactions along the lines of "Keep up the great work" or "Love your posts, great profile" then you are doing your job as a marketer flawlessly. While being endlessly showered with constant praise does feel great, it can also be a dangerous ego-booster --so our tip here is to keep that ego in check! Praise and criticism go hand in hand and sometimes both need to be taken with a grain of salt.
The best way to handle these fine folk is with due gratitude. Dole out those thank yous left and right, because these are the people who will care the most about hearing anything back from you. Take note of when and where they're commenting to remind yourself what you're doing right and where there's room for improvement. Most importantly, if you notice any of these recurring fans having some criticisms for you, address them first and take it seriously. The better you handle these simple situations the quicker you'll gain more followers like these.
#2. The Customer Service Seekers:
No matter what types of products/services your business may offer, there's no avoiding customer service requests through social media. It's at the heart of everything you do! How you respond to these crucial questions, comments and complaints will literally define you in the eyes of your customers. Rest assured your clients will come to your social media sites first to voice their opinions, so those front lines have to be tough and prepared.
There are 2 key practices to keep in mind when it comes to your social media customer service and they both revolve around tone. First and foremost you always want to keep things professional. Strive to respond in an upbeat and unbiased manner, even when dealing with difficult grievances. Secondly, never forget to bring it back to your brand. Highlight what makes YOUR product/service unique by showing off the value you bring to the table. To do this, speak to the customer on a relatable level with a voice that brings them comfort. But also, avoid beating around the bush. You need to give prompt replies with concrete answers.
#3. The Collaborators:
A great social media marketing presence will naturally attract a following of colleagues in your industry. Nothing shows a more sincere understanding of all your hard work than when your competition comes asking for a bit of help. Never feel like you're above these opportunities. You should always jump at any chance to further your influence into markets you may not yet be reaching. There's no better way to achieve this than the classic quid pro quo!
That's the key here: you scratch my back, I scratch yours. Nothing worth having ever comes for free, so expect to take on the extra work load that comes with collaborating. The good news is, this also comes with an extra reward! Collaborations are great opportunities for you to show off the best parts of your business while simultaneously acknowledging others' hard work. Though it takes a great deal of practice and a bit of finesse to pull off, it's essentially a win-win for you in any scenario.
Of course in all 3 of these commenter categories you will find the typical social media trolls. It comes with the territory. For those unfamiliar with the term, a troll is someone who comments with inflammatory, off-topic, sarcastic, etc. messages with the primary intent of provoking an emotional response.
Unfortunately mindless haters are a dime a dozen in the digital marketing world. Often times there's no reasoning with trolls and no reply that will satisfy. Our best advice, through years of trial and error, is to remain positive. You never want to ignore these comments, in whatever form they may come (that'll just make you look bad). It's also important to notice when no more good can come from continuing to engage. We leave that to your best judgement.
Have you found any other types of commenters on your social media platforms? Let us know in the comments.