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15 Precautions For Brands Implementing Social Monitoring Programs

Social monitoring may sound simple, but the selection of strategies, approaches and tools can make a big difference. For industry-tested advice, look no further than the Forbes Agency Council’s latest piece, ‘15 Precautions For Brands Implementing Social Monitoring Programs.’ View the original article on Forbes. The No. 10 contribution is from agency president Stefan Pollack.

10. Always Be Helpful Rather Than Defensive

Never take a defensive tone in response to negative feedback. Social media management today is customer service, and how you respond in the comments to an unhappy customer will be on public display for all of your followers. Even if you can’t resolve their issue, a helpful tone can calm down an upset commenter by helping them feel that their concerns are valid and their voice is being heard. - Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

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1. Move Contentious Interactions To A Private Channel

An angry customer or client commenting on your social media can be an opportunity to salvage a connection or, at worst, a messy situation that all can see as it unfolds in a string of replies. As reputation-management experts in healthcare, we recommend you politely, yet firmly, move these contentious interactions to a private channel to help keep sensitive information out of public view. - Chelimar Miranda, Medical Advantage

2. Beware Of Bots And Integrate Social Listening

Wading through all of the mentions, comments, tags and questions can be super time-consuming and leave you responding to potential bots, which won’t do anything to help you reach your marketing goals. Social listening not only analyzes sentiment, but it can also track your brand’s loyalists and influencers so that you know your interactions will have the greatest impact. - Beth Newton, alpha | BRAVO

3. Don’t Start A Program Half-Heartedly

If you can’t be honest, then don’t start the program. A social monitoring program is an outstanding way to directly connect with people, address concerns, build loyalty and win lifelong supporters. However, if a brand cannot directly address questions, or is not willing to, then it should not start down this path half-heartedly. Social media users can and will quickly call out half-steps and misinformation. - Mark Skroch, BCV Social

4. Invest In Your Social Media Community Manager’s Development

The role of social media community manager is not a job for a summer intern. This is a customer service representative for your brand. You must invest in their training and strategic development. This position is also on the front lines of any brand crisis that might arise. They need to know the difference between a troll and an unhappy customer and what to do to create a pleasant environment for fans. - Kami Watson Huyse, Zoetica

5. Respond To Customers As Quickly As Possible

Don’t wait too long to respond. Social media has become the new customer service. The longer someone has to wait to be responded to, the less likely it is that even a happy customer with a valid query will remain happy. - Danny Star, Website Depot

6. Ensure Representatives Understand Their Objective

Ensure that the representatives you are going to be working with completely understand the purpose of the campaign and their objective. If you allow them to freely engage with your audience without guardrails, you may risk damaging your brand’s reputation. - Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC

7. Organize A Consumer Response Grid Into A Stoplight System

Any brand that wants to focus on engagement needs a consumer response grid organized into a stoplight system: Red issues should be answered in 12 hours, yellow within 12 to 24 hours and green within 24 to 48 hours. This grid also needs to be uploaded to any automation systems the brand is using for after-hours responses. - Vix Reitano, Agency 6B

8. Make Sure Representatives Are Honest, Sympathetic And On-Brand

Social media management, in conjunction with customer service, has become a form of crisis control. You need to make sure that your representatives are not only honest, open and sympathetic but also on-brand. They need to know that they are speaking on behalf of a company and not just themselves. You need them to be your voice, no matter what situation they are dealing with. - Jason Hall, FiveChannels Marketing

9. Develop A Clear Community Management Plan

Captain Obvious here, I know, but doing customer service (community management) through social media is taxing. It requires a special kind of person armed with empathy and patience. But even the best-prepared rep will need protocols in place and processes to escalate issues that are beyond their scope. A clear CMP provides a structure and helps both the employees and customers. - Frank Rojas, Qode Media Inc.

10. See above.

11. Get All Customer Service Agents On The Same Page

The biggest precaution before implementing a social monitoring program would be to ensure that your customer service agents are all on the same page. Their responses should be effective and consistent to avoid future issues. Furthermore, these agents should be an extension of your company’s brand and culture. Their personalities should demonstrate who you want working for your company. - Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH

12. Have Neutral Responses Prepared To Address Inflammatory Comments

When allowing representatives to communicate with users, it’s important to train representatives on how to handle inflammatory comments, as social media can provoke outbursts no matter the topic. Should the posts get out of hand, reps need to have neutral, passive responses prepared. - Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

13. Document A Set Of Communication Standards

You need to have a documented set of communication standards for the team members who will be interacting directly with your audience. The last thing you want is for your brand to go viral for getting into a Twitter battle and saying something that will damage your company. Make sure you have lines that will not be crossed and a brand voice that will be part of every interaction. - Bernard May, National Positions

14. Resolve Questions And Complaints Within The Originating Social Platform

When implementing a social monitoring program, it’s essential to develop processes that will allow representatives to resolve customer questions and complaints within the originating social platform. If a message is sent via a social network, asking the user to then send an email or fill out a website complaint form will lead to more frustration and further impact the customer’s experience. - Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

15. Put An Approved ‘Response Document’ In Place

In order to streamline a brand’s social monitoring program, an approved “response document” should be in place. This document will have potential questions and approved answers to various comments and questions from customers. This document will alleviate any unwanted social responses, save on time spent gaining approval of responses and allow representatives to follow the brand’s voice. - Marilyn Cowley, PREM - PR & Social

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