It is a fact that not every business that uses social media monitors their accounts effectively.

How can I be so sure about that?

Because I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve put a comment on a Facebook page or sent a tweet and never heard anything back.

Why ignore your customers (or potential customers)?

It seems crazy to me that they’re willing to invest in a social media presence, but do nothing with it.

They don’t seem to understand that Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and all the others are a two way street. Yes, they are a great way to get a message out, but equally they are an invaluable tool to interact with customers.

It doesn’t take a lot to make a good impression and show yourself as a company that cares about its customers.

Show yourself

Getting set up on social media is easy, making people aware of your presence is not.

Once you have all your accounts set up, make sure you allocate someone to monitor them and respond on your behalf (it’s always best to have a social media policy in place so they know how they should react and know what they can and can’t say). Then, as and when you get messages, there’s someone available to respond to them.

You see, that’s how relationships start. This interaction will show that you listen. If your followers know they can talk to you they’ll be more likely to share your stuff with their friends because you’ll be seen as a good social networker. As they share your stuff, your reach will widen as will your audience and potential for sales.

Be quick

Social media is immediate.

As soon as you have something to say and hit send it’s gone out to all your followers and fans.

That means your followers and fans are also going to expect a quick response from you – I’m talking minutes and hours not days and weeks.

To them, your social media channels are the same as your customer service line. They’ll use them to send comments, complaints and compliments and will expect a response from you.

I thank you

Thank you – two little words that are so under-rated.

If someone comments on or retweets something you’ve sent out, make sure you say thank you.

It doesn’t take long and will make a real difference to your followers and fans.

None of this is new and most of it is common sense, but it amazes me how many companies aren’t doing it. Make sure you’re not one of them.

Remember, social media should be seen as an extension of your customer service team – use it wisely, monitor it effectively and respond quickly.