By Carrie Kerpen Earlier this week, I published a piece in Inc. about flash sale sites and the recent criticism of their social media presence--which is currently riddled with negative customer feedback. Flash sale sites aren't the only ones facing customer complaints, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. When used correctly, feedback simply makes businesses better. Here are three ways businesses can become more likeable by embracing feedback through social media.
Be a mirror, not a megaphone.
Social media is essentially one tool in your arsenal that can serve a variety of business functions, including customer service, research and development, and marketing (to name a few). Too often, this tool is used solely as a megaphone-- broadcasting messages and attempting to game algorithms in order to show up first and loudest among a sea of other brands doing the exact same thing. News flash: People aren't hanging out on social media waiting to see your message. People are hanging out on social media to be social. You're an interruption, so you'd better hope your message is a welcome interruption, providing value for its intended audience.
It's fine to get your message out there, but consider using social media as a mirror, rather than a megaphone. Begin by actively listening. That doesn't mean just plugging your company name into Radian 6. It means searching keywords around behaviors of your customers. Active listening is about observing what frustrates your customers: about you, about your competitors, and about your industry in general. Listen to feedback on your own social profiles and beyond.
Are you thankful for feedback, even when it's tough to hear? You should be. Feedback is what makes us better--as people, as brands, and as a society. Obviously constructive feedback is best, and social media can allow for anonymous brutal feedback sometimes. But true, honest feedback from your customers should be cherished because it makes you better. Are you thanking every single person who gives your brand feedback? Have you considered filming a video or taking out a Facebook ad to thank them? By practicing gratitude in your response to feedback, your brand will ultimately be much more likeable.
Be a change agent, but don't blow with the wind.
As people, we want to make everybody happy. As brands, we do too! But the reality is that not everyone is going to love your product or service--and that's okay. If you're listening actively and carefully, you'll be able to procure data from your customers. And data allows you to make educated decisions. While I do think that you should certainly respond to everyone if you can, I don't think you should react to everyone. That being said, if you get a great suggestion via social, and can implement it quickly, go for it!
Once you've heard all the feedback (the good and the bad), been grateful for it, and implemented some initial changes, NOW it's time for the hard part: actually becoming a more likeable company and living up to the expectations that your consumers demand.
Are you listening to the feedback that consumers have for your brand? Or are you simply burying it with marketing messages on your social channels? Share below!
P.S. Click here to read the original column about this topic published in Inc.