Getting ahold of a company via phone call is becoming a thing of the past. These days, customers want to be able to reach businesses however and whenever is most convenient for them—often, that means via text or some other instant messaging platform.
One of the most common ways for customers to reach out to businesses nowadays is via social media. It’s all about the convenience factor; instead of having to visit a physical location or calling and being put on hold, with just a few taps customers can send messages and simply wait for a response notification.
What is social media messaging?
With every passing day, people are spending more and more time communicating online. Social media platforms want as much of your attention as they can get, so it makes sense that many social channels offer some sort of messaging platform. Social media messaging is similar to text messaging, but messages are sent from a social media app.
A couple of common examples of social media messaging platforms are Facebook Messenger and Instagram direct messages.
A few social media messenger features that make social media a popular method of communication include:
- Fun chat themes
- Custom reactions
- Dark mode (which many people prefer because it is easy on the eyes)
- The ability to send and watch videos
- The ability to send voice messages with high-quality audio
There are many ways a small business can use social media messaging to improve customer communication. Anyone with a Facebook or Instagram account can easily get in touch with their favorite businesses online, and businesses can respond to inquiries quickly from a phone or computer. If you’re not taking advantage of social media as a way to communicate with customers, it’s time to change that.
Using social media to chat with customers
This is the digital age, and everyone expects instant communication. Social media provides a free and convenient way to accomplish this.
If you aren’t using social media messaging as a way to stay engaged with your customer base, you are falling behind. Making your business available via social media messaging shows customers and potential customers that you are dedicated to staying connected and addressing questions and concerns.
So, how do you use social media messaging to communicate with your customers and improve customer service? Here are some ideas to try:
- Send your customers voice and video messages, which is more personalized than other forms of communication
- Host group video calls with a customer and multiple members of your team
- Allow customers to send you pictures of products that may need to be replaced
- Use a social media chatbot to answer FAQs
Why local businesses should take advantage of social media messaging
There are many advantages of small businesses using social media messaging. Just a few of those advantages include:
- It can help your business reach a wider audience
- You can take advantage of advertising tools
- The Facebook Messenger app in particular is free and allows for unlimited text and unlimited live chatting
- Communicating in ways that are convenient for your customers will build brand loyalty
- An active social media presence improves your online reputation
- Video calling allows you to communicate with customers face-to-face
You can also use social media messaging as a way to gather and implement customer feedback. For example, if customers are constantly asking the same questions, you may want to consider creating an easily accessible FAQ page. You can also try using a chatbot for simple requests. Numerous chatbots integrate with social media messaging apps like Facebook Messenger.
Did you know that over 70% of customers expect a response within an hour of their complaint? Even unhappy customers—while they might seem intimidating—allow you the opportunity to improve. By responding to social media messages from people who are upset, you show that you’re willing to go above and beyond to make things right.
Social media messaging vs. other communication methods
Social media allows businesses to stay connected with current customers as well as receive messages from people who otherwise may never have reached out at all. There are many pros to using social media chat, but as with most things, there are also cons.
One con of using Facebook chat or other social media chat apps is the fact that sometimes messages disappear. If a customer accidentally enables vanish mode when sending a message, there may be no way to retrieve those records. Sure, you could try and contact the Instagram or Facebook support team if this happens, but there is never a guarantee that you’ll be able to resolve the issue.
Another con is that customers may message you outside of business hours, and because social media is always on, they might expect an immediate response.
So, what are the alternatives if you’d rather not rely on social media as the main way to communicate with your customers?
As previously mentioned, you can try phone conversations, but this method doesn’t always let businesses easily connect with people. Furthermore, one person can only take one phone call at a time. When using a messaging app, one person can manage multiple threads with multiple people, which saves your support team a ton of time.
You can also communicate with your clients via email. This is one of the slower communication methods (many people don’t check their email constantly throughout the day) but it does allow for multiple conversations with multiple customers at once.
Another great option is to invest in a text messaging tool like Podium that allows you to manage all of your customer conversations in one easy place. This way, you don’t have to worry about vanishing messages or checking tons of different platforms—you can just focus on providing great customer service.
To summarize, if your company isn’t already using social media chat apps as a way to stay in contact with customers, it’s time to change that. More and more people have begun to do business online rather than going to a store. Making your business available on social media is just one more way you can improve your online presence, set yourself apart from the competition, and engage with customers in a more personalized way.