Customers Can Make or Break You on Social Media

Lauren Krause
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Setting up social media profiles for your business is a smart idea. Social media sites give you a convenient channel for communicating with customers and a way to market your business to an audience that is interested and engaged. However, social media profiles need to be carefully managed to ensure they help rather than harm your online reputation.

Small businesses can benefit enormously from having a presence on social media, even if the business is a traditional brick-and-mortar store. Modern consumers head online to research local services before they choose where to spend their money. Having a poor online reputation or no online presence at all can make a business miss out on a huge group of potential customers.

In addition to using the Internet to search for the services they need, many people also head online to express their opinions of the customer service they experience. They choose to make their comments or complaints on the company's social media profiles as these provide a convenient and highly accessible platform for discussion.

When you set up profiles on the major social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, expect your customers to use them to get in touch with you. There are several rules for responding to customers who get in touch via social media. The first is to always respond as quickly as possible whenever a customer posts on your page. Social media users are rapid communicators and often expect you to respond to them within a day.

The way you respond to customer interactions can make or break your business. If the customer is simply posting to give you some positive feedback, it is good practice to thank him for his comment. When customers post questions, respond promptly, answering the question as clearly and concisely as you can. If possible, include a link to a page on your website where the customer can find out more information.

Getting complaints posted on your social media profiles can be disappointing and frustrating, particularly if you do not think the customer's complaint is fair. However, complaints on social media do not necessarily break your business's reputation, providing you respond correctly. Always be polite with customers who complain and thank them for raising the issue. If you can quickly resolve the issue by offering a refund or a replacement product to the dissatisfied customer, then strongly consider this strategy. If the complaint is more complicated, invite the customer to contact your business via email or phone to resolve the problem. You must make sure that you follow through on your promise to help or the customer will likely return to the social media site to complain about your customer service.

Every business should have a presence on social media. However, setting up the account is not enough. It is also important to monitor your business's social media pages and quickly respond to customer complaints and questions.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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