What Makes a Social Media Response Effective?
Negative comments on social media can be very harmful to the reputation of a company and ultimately affect the bottom line. Hence, I would like to argue that as the use of social media increases, the need for companies to engage in social media with an adequately trained response team becomes increasingly important. Luckily more and more companies have been doing this, the question however remains is how to do this properly and effectively so it can ultimately add value to the business. One example of a company doing it right and striking the right tone is the Dutch airline company KLM. One of their passengers (Remco) posted the following message to KLM:
“Dear KLM, Thursday December 4th, I’ll be flying to Miami (flightnumber KL0623), I thought I would just let you know that this’ll be my birthday, just to give you the time for the proper arrangements (festoons, songs etc.) I’ll see you Thursday!!”
KLM responded: “Thanks for giving us a heads up Remco, our party department has been assigned to it directly. The first idea we came up with, if it is fine by you, is to change the flightnumber to KLRemco’s-Bday-flight. With respect to the songs: do you have any special requests? We’d like to wish you a good flight and we are honoured that you decided to celebrate your party with us!”
Now that we have seen a good example of a social media response, the question remains, what are the characteristics of a good social media response policy?
In my opinion empathy is required in order to match the tone of the response with the tone of the person who initially wrote his question or complaint. When a mismatch occurs frustration might build with all its consequences. A client may become so angry that he uses Facebook or Twitter to publicly bash the company he or she is dealing with. As a result the company may face reputation damage.
Another aspect that I believe is important is timeliness. The social media response team should react to posts in a timely matter. Being too late to respond can also invoke negative responses with brand reputation damage as a potential consequence.
Furthermore, I believe effective communication is essential. The social media response team should be able to articulate their messages clearly and concise. Especially when using a medium like Twitter where the amount of characters is limited.
These are basically the characteristics I came up with, but I am curious towards your opinion and your contributions.