COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT CHECK IN: Focus on Personal

Welcome to a recurring series where we explore different areas of community management on social media. Community management is all about the relationships your brand has with its consumers in the social space and how you convert consumers to loyalists. Building that initial relationship can be tough, but it’s important to be responsive, attentive and transparent with consumers to build and maintain their trust. It’s part science, part art – and it’s always changing. Follow along as we delve into different questions we receive and how we approach community management.

In this installment, we focus on making it personal. Today’s consumer is jaded – they crave personal, hands-on customer service, but they expect to talk to a robot. Community management is one space where your brand can surprise them! Social is all about being social, so having a personality, being compassionate and showing a sense of humility go a long way in this space. Putting real thought and care into responses and messages to members of the social community is a way for them to not only trust the brand, but to feel like they have their own unique relationship with the brand. Below are some common questions around being personal in community management:

What are your thoughts on verbal-tone changes dependent on platform?

Your tone changes between types of conversations. For example, a conversation with someone at a party will have a different tone then one had in an interview. Just like you may change your tone depending upon what kind of space you’re in, your brand’s voice should adapt to the social platform it’s on.

Some general rules of thumb:

  • Facebook: Mimics everyday conversations – straightforward and friendly customer service
  • Instagram: More fun and playful, using puns or emojis to express excitement and passion for users’ posts
  • Twitter: Depending on your brand persona, this could either be viewed as more technical and concise, focused on customer service, OR a place to have some fun showing off your brand personality and being involved in conversation, like Wendy’s

Of course, each conversation and interaction is unique. You should take each situation and consumer into account in crafting a response (i.e., don’t respond to a consumer who hurt themselves using your product with just a sad face emoji!)

Should my brand be using chatbots or other AI-assisted tech in community management?

This answer is somewhat complicated, and a bit of a yes-and-no situation. On platforms that offer this functionality, like Facebook, it’s definitely recommended to have an auto-response message in place to maintain a good response rate (which is visible to consumers) and also to set expectations with those who message you. This helps set a standard of your response time (24-48 hours, the next business day, 1-2 business days, etc.) and keeps consumers calm (and hopefully patient!) while awaiting your more personal response.

Beyond this AI-assisted tech, it’s a grey area. On the surface, using chatbots strips personality from your social platform. Most vendors out there are still working on understanding the intricacies of consumer questions, complaints and comments to have sophisticated and custom enough AI-responses. That being said, there are some brands who get hundreds of consumer questions a day that only require simple responses. Take a bank for example – people message on social every day asking what to do after they lose their card. The consumer is likely in a frantic, upset mindset, and having a quick, AI-assisted response can mean a world of difference to them and encourage loyalty with your brand. In large part, it’s a team effort between those who manage customer service and the bots they can safely put into place.

When deciding to integrate AI into your community management program, consider these three questions:

  • What are your most commonly asked questions? Do you get enough of the same questions asked to warrant putting a reliable bot in place to handle those?
  • Is the cost justified? Chatbots that are built specifically for your brand are not cheap, and you need to have a significant amount of daily activity to make the spend worth it.
  • Is there a way for you to use a bot and still make sure your community members know you care about them as individuals? If you are going to rely on bots, it’s important to explore other ways to make sure your consumers are still building trust with your brand.

What are thoughts on using names of customer service reps in responding?

This is another grey area that depends on your brand’s exact situation. Below are some reasons why you should and shouldn’t use a representative’s name in managing a community:

  • Why You Should Use a Rep’s Name:
    • Consistency and User Flow: If your customer service team is integrated enough to continue conversations from one medium to another (i.e., from social media to phone), you can create a stronger consumer experience.
    • Less Negativity: It’s been proven that consumers get less angry or upset if they know they’re talking to a real person as opposed to a nameless “brand.”
    • More Human: As previously mentioned, consumers often expect to talk to a robot. Connecting them to a human instead can surprise and delight them.
  • Why You Shouldn’t Use a Rep’s Name:
    • Protection: If you have a truly upset consumer, they may do what’s called “doxing,” to one of your employees. In the social era, it’s easy to find people, where they live and where they work. Omitting your employees’ names from the public space may protect them.
    • Brand Reputation: Using representatives’ names can make your brand seem less cohesive, and more fractured. Employees are people, and on any given day, one could be having a bad day and accidentally misrepresent your brand. This could outlier experience could set the wrong expectations for your brand moving forward.
    • Consistency: If you don’t have a fully integrated customer service team, using names in responses can get disjointed. Debbie may respond to their first message, and Tim has to respond to the second, and soon the consumer just wants one person to help them find a solution. Not using names allows for the appearance of continuity. People don’t want to be felt like they’re being passed around.

The reality is, this is an individual choice to make specifically for your brand and organization. If you do decide to use rep’s names, we recommend only using their names in private messages and not using their names in feed (in comments).  Also, consider their signatures and ensure that they are succinct and don’t oversell their role.

As always, remember that every brand is different and that one size does not fit all. You should always consider what works best for your brand.

Click here to read the next article in our Community Management Series, 3 Ways to Take Your Community Management to the Next Level.

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