Replying to Comments on Social Media: Everything You Need to Know + 7 Examples of How to Do It Right

By Natasha Lane

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Getting likes and comments on your social media posts feels incredible. After all, achieving high engagement rates signals that your social media strategy is resonating with your audience. 

But if you don't do anything with follower engagements, then it's safe to say that all your hard work is going to waste.

 

In truth, social media is not just a content distribution platform where you simply talk at your followers. All you have to do is look at why people use social networks to realize that most of them do it to stay in touch with friends and family, keep up with the happenings in the world, make new contacts, and share and discuss their opinions with others.

And this means that a successful social media approach needs to prioritize communication. In other words, it needs to be optimized to cover the social aspect of these distribution platforms.

Fortunately, this is relatively easy to do. Something as simple as replying to comments on your posts (and, yes, you should reply to all comments you get) will ensure that you're doing enough to keep the conversation going and your reach growing.

 

So, if you feel uncertain about the best way to reply to comments on social media, this post will teach you everything you need to know. Plus, it will provide several examples, so you understand precisely what you should and shouldn't do.



Follow Your Brand Guidelines

An essential rule to successfully replying to comments on social media is following your brand guidelines.

 

If you've done your homework, you already know what your brand's communication should sound like. You'll have a defined voice and tone, an authentic personality, and know what values your organization (and employees) stand for. But, whether you're a multinational company or a one-man band, it's not a bad idea to prepare a document that helps your social media team remember these basics.

 

Something similar to Mailchimp's Content Style Guide will help you and your colleagues always hit the right note. And more importantly, it will prevent your replies from feeling awkward, out of place, or plain rude (unless, like Dbrand, that's the exact effect you're going for).

Screenshot from Dbrands Twitter

Source: twitter.com

 

Be Available — It's What Your Audience Wants

When it comes to brand communication, your audience wants immediacy — especially if they're trying to reach you over something they find important (like seeking support). 

 

So, in addition to being available to your customers (and making them know how and where to reach you), make sure that you treat social media as an essential communication channel. (Again, it's not just a content distribution platform.)

 

If you're not entirely convinced that social media is the place to answer customer queries and provide support, just look at what the research says. True, social media is not everyone's preferred communication channel for contacting businesses (phone calls and email still rule supreme in that regard). However, consumers do appreciate it when brands make communication through social easy. And, it could even be argued that they expect it.

 

A recent report from Sprout Social uncovered that 13% of consumers expect brands to respond in less than one hour on social. And more than half (57%, to be more precise) expect a reply within 24 hours.

 

With this in mind, it's crucial that you keep an eye on your social media comments and reply to them as soon as you can.

 

Are you short of staff, catering to an international customer base, or dealing with too many inquiries? That's OK. You don't have to rush or stretch yourself too thin to reply to every comment as soon as it comes in. 

 

Just ensure your audience knows when your team is available and don't put replying off for too long. Look at how elegantly SomniFix managed to turn a challenge around by being transparent with its customers about stock and customer service reply times.

Screenshot example from SomniFix Facebook page

Source: facebook.com

 

Use the Comments Section to Start Conversations & Build Relationships

As you get serious about your social media strategy, you might find yourself in a situation where you get dozens, hundreds, or (if you're lucky and doing a good job) even thousands of comments per post. And this might feel overwhelming. Moreover, replying to customer feedback can be a Herculean task.

 

However, keep in mind that letting any comment on your social media timeline go unanswered is an opportunity missed.

 

Keeping conversations isn't "just" going to help you connect with your customers. It's also an excellent way to provide your followers with extra value. For a great example, check out how wonderfully GILI uses the opportunity of receiving customer feedback to send that person to its company blog. 

Screenshot example from GILI Sports Facebook page

Source: facebook.com

 

Or, you might try using your comments section for consumer research. Any feedback you get, you can use to improve your products and services and boost customer satisfaction. 

 

For an excellent example of a brand that did precisely this, check out Cloud & Victory. Knowing that its customers liked its cat leotard and wanted more products that featured cute images of animals, the brand came out with an alpaca leotard that became an instant hit and sold out in a few days.

Screenshot example from ALPACA Instagram story

Source: instagram.com

 

Finally, don't forget to treat the comments section of your social media posts as a place where you can collect precious social proof. 

 

If you get positive feedback about your products, use the opportunity to thank your customers for supporting you and, potentially, ask them to leave a review on your website, on Amazon, or even on a third-party review site. 

 

Look at how elegantly KURU Footwear does it on Facebook, where it invites engaged followers to lend their support and leave an official review of the brand's products.

Screenshot example from Kuru Footwear Facebook page

Source: facebook.com

 

Skip the Generic Replies

Have you ever thought about what type of communication consumers want from brands? 

 

Experience suggests that the way to build genuine (and long-lasting) brand-consumer relationships is to pay attention to authenticity and relevance. 

 

For example, if someone asks when they can expect to receive their order, don't just respond with a generic message inviting them to send an email to your customer service. Or, if a potential customer is asking for additional sizing information via social media, do your best to provide help — even if you don't have the perfect solution. Just look at this interaction on the Teddy Fresh support Twitter profile.

Screenshot example from Teddy Fresh Twitter profile

Source: twitter.com

 

Another superb way to make your social media profiles a place of authentic communication is to ensure each of your comment replies contains a signature. 

 

For example, Impossible regularly collaborates with influencers, which is not uncommon for fitness brands. But, what this organization does exceptionally well, is that it actually has those influencers reply to the comments on social media posts. 

 

This approach doesn't just ensure that Impossible's followers get answers from the people they turned to with their questions. It also provides an added dose of transparency to the company's social media presence, where followers always know who they're talking to.

Screenshot example from Impossible Instagram feed

Source: instagram.com

 

Don't Ignore Comments (Especially Not Negative Ones)

No matter how hard you try to make all your customers happy, the day will inevitably come when you get a negative review. And whether this is due to your own doing or circumstances you couldn't possibly have controlled is entirely irrelevant. 

 

In this case, the only thing that matters is you handle the situation with integrity and grace.

 

Don't ignore a negative comment. And never clap back to criticism. Instead, search for a solution and do your best to turn a negative situation around. 

 

Find ways to solve the issue at hand, sympathize with your customers, apologize if the poor customer experience is due to a mistake, and always thank people for their feedback — good or bad.

 

If you're still not convinced that this is the way to go, just look at the research surrounding negative reviews. 

 

According to a survey conducted by ReviewTrackers, 53% of buyers expect brands to respond to negative reviews within a week. And 45% say they're more likely to visit a business that responds to negative feedback.



Wrapping up

 

As you can see, replying to comments on social media doesn't have to be rocket science. It can be super simple (and beneficial to your business). Plus, you can even turn it into an opportunity to have fun with your customers, learn more about their pain points (which you can later solve), and build relationships with your fans.

 

If you're just getting started with social media and are still unsure when and how to reply to comments, don't worry. Instead, focus on doing the best you can. Remember that simply being there for your customers will be enough to show your brand cares about them having a positive experience.

Learn more about Social Hire

The team at Social Hire never just do social media marketing.

We're an organisation that helps our clients boost their social media presence by providing social media marketing on a monthly basis.

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