Last time, I looked at Twitter as a marketing platform – highlighting the importance of having a listening strategy. This time around, I’ll explore Twitter as a platform for different customer engagement, service, and crisis management.

Like all social media platforms, content needs to be top quality and consistent. Since Twitter is a channel that prides itself on immediacy, inconsistent postings will have you dropping out of optimal SEO rankings and trends.

To ensure you’re posting regularly, it’s good to have a content strategy that outlines what you’ll be posting and when – this doesn’t have to be set in stone, but does help you organise your Twitter persona a little better.

Direct and Immediate Service

Because Twitter was built on the ideas of immediacy and brevity, many businesses have opted to use the platform as a customer service channel. According to Twitter, there has been a 250% increase in customer service conversations on the platform, while companies that use Twitter for customer service see a 19% lift in customer satisfaction.

Using Twitter for customer services shows a willingness to engage with customer directly and an awareness of their expectations. Its good practice addressing customer mentions and queries in a timely fashion, regardless of whether the news is good or bad.

However, not all mentions warrant response and sometimes it’s best moving customer conversations offline or into private channels. Respond only to questions rather than all mentions and don’t be afraid to ignore (or block) trolls and bullies.

Twitter claims that 60% of consumers expect brands to respond to inquiries within an hour, yet brand response times average 84 minutes. And while it is unreasonable to demand such rapid responses from small-to-medium businesses, the speed of social media communication is reshaping customer-service expectations.

If you cannot be available to your customers 24/7, it’s important you set expectations for them. This could be as simple as adding a timeframe to your bio informing them of your service team’s availability. What you’ve essentially created is an online service-level agreement that lets consumers know the average amount of time inquiry response takes.

Remember, while immediacy is paramount on social media, it should never come at the expense of accuracy, so ensure you customer service responses aren’t just timely but valuable. Prior to setting up a customer service channel on Twitter, set up an FAQ section to minimise direct inquiries and spare your service team from repeating themselves too often.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Brands

Due to Twitter’s wide reach and fast news cycles, small events can quickly gain momentum and go viral. And while some positive things do go viral, often the content that gains the most traction is the negative stuff. Brand campaigns have seen relentless backlash on Twitter, such as Pepsi’s tactless commercial starring Kendall Jenner, which made light of social injustice and activism at a time of heightened protesting.

Hopefully your organisation doesn’t create the same kind of universal outrage due to tone deaf marketing – but if you do, Twitter can help with crisis management. However, you should have a plan in place ahead of crises and ensure your customer-service team are well versed in the nuances of social media.

Going back and forth with a disgruntled customer on Twitter is not a good look, so try and get those customers on the phone instead or move the conversation into their direct messages and away from public view. Remember, one bad tweet doesn’t make it a crisis, so don’t overreact; take the time to understand the difference between a problem and a crisis.

Problems can generally be resolved using standard service tactics and procedures as they’re often minor issues. A crisis, on the other hand, affects a much larger audience and requires a special response to prevent escalation.

Also, make sure you’re in touch with other relevant departments, such as communications or legal, to help you navigate safely through problems and crises. Be sure to look at any scheduled content in case your posts need to be paused or scrapped altogether. Remember, transparency is vital to keeping audiences informed and sympathetic to your brand – especially in times of crisis.

For more tips and tricks about creating content for social media, download our free Ultimate Guide to Social Content – and start building our followers list today.

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