Few places on earth are as perilous to navigate as the vast open spaces of the social media landscape. Scathing service criticism, unhappy customers airing their grievances… It’s enough to turn the stomach of even the most experienced brand. At Axonn Media, we’ve looked into the face of the beast and lived to tell the tale. After delving deep into the core of the internet, our latest research uncovered the most dreaded thing lurking in cyberspace… The Complainers.
Social media survival certainly isn't easy, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. In fact, our research has shown that 78.2 per cent of customers are not afraid to get in touch with a brand and complain if they are unhappy.
If you want to avoid the pitfalls and quicksand traps of social media customer service , you’d better follow our survival advice.
If it’s good enough for Bear Grylls, it’s good enough for us. Where in his case it usually means taking a hunting knife and compass with you everywhere you go, on the off chance you end up stranded in the Borneo Rainforest, for brands and social media, being prepared is a little different.
Having a social media page dedicated to your brand means that basically anything can happen. You're out there, connected to your audience and if they see fit to criticise, well, you just have to be ready for it.
This means having someone at hand to respond and actually deal with your social media accounts. Nearly half (49.8 per cent) of those who complain on social media expect a brand to respond within four hours.
That’s more time than you need to deal with a venomous snake bite, but in both cases, it’s best to act as soon as possible!
Find a survival expert
If you found yourself stranded in the vast bleakness of the Gobi desert, chances are you’d want someone like Bear with you. Not only could he point out which disgusting insects you should eat, he might just save your life.
The same goes for social media, kind of.
Our research has shown that knowing HOW to respond plays a big part in determining what a customer thinks of a brand.
A colossal 99 per cent of people expect a response from a brand, in the form of a retweet, favourite, comment and so on, if they have mentioned them.
Ok, so you don’t need Ray Mears to manage your social media, but at the very least you need someone who knows the difference between a hashtag and a hash brown.
Know the terrain
Being able to traverse a crevasse properly may come in handy if you find yourself in a tricky situation halfway up Mount Everest, but in the virtual world it’s not likely to save you from anything.
However, understanding where your audience comes from can have an impact on the way you react to complaints on social media. In fact, our research revealed that people’s habits varied depending on where they are from in the UK.
Londoners follow the most brands and complain the most on Instagram, whereas Yorkshire folk are least likely to have Twitter. People from the south-east are picky and limit the amount of brands they follow; however, 77 per cent of Twitter users in the north-east expect a retweet if they mention a brand.
Put simply, you need to know which platforms your audience is going to use. For example, a brand from Newcastle may need to be vigilant on Twitter, whereas a Leeds-based company could favour Facebook.
Keep your provisions in order
Social media is increasingly becoming an essential component of a brand’s survival kit and, as such, companies using it as a place to interact with customers and consumers need to ensure that they actually use it regularly.
Have a strategy in place and make sure you stick to it: social media is a powerful tool and one that can give a brand a lot of grief if not used properly.