Managing online comments and social media threads takes patience, creativity, quick thinking, and a sense of humor. This is very similar to another important job we know: Motherhood.
Whether you are dealing with toddlers or a ranting follower (ahem), there are plenty of ways being a mom has prepared us for responding to online comments.
Say the magic words
Please. Thank You. I'm sorry. I love... that you took the time to comment. These are all small phrases that go a long way in showing the human in your social media marketing. Above all, be polite and friendly. Type with a smile on your face and it will more than likely come across that way in your comment response.
Sleep when they sleep
While this is sage advice to any new parent (even if they never take it), the takeaway for your comment responses is to sleep when you can so you can be awake when your customers are awake. The sooner you can respond to attention-worthy comments, the better. Good or bad, you want to make sure your customers know you are actively listening and ready to engage.
Catch them doing something good
If squeaky wheels get grease, then angry toddlers and ranting customers get an oil tanker. While this will work -- and may be required -- on some levels, make a point to reward and recognize customers who not only give you positive feedback and reviews, but who also give you constructive ways to improve. Encourage a social environment where customers opinions are respected and feedback is welcome, and you'll also encourage a new vocabulary amongst your fans and followers.
Pick your battles
Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees when it comes to online comments and online complaints. Step back and see if you can see any overarching trends, whether they are in the comments or who is making the comments, and address them all in one fell swoop. You may not be able to handle every single social media catastrophe. The important thing is to recognize which ones require high-touch follow-up and which ones just need a light coaxing.
Respond, don't react
If a particular response hits you in the gut, give yourself 90 seconds. (That's about how long it takes for your body to chemically process an emotion.) This way, you avoid viscerally (and impulsively) reacting to a comment while giving yourself time to phrase a more thoughtful, forward-thinking response. Moms call this "taking a moment." Preschoolers call this "taking a time out." Whatever you call it, it's just good business.
Keep your wits about you
Managing online comments, and toddlers, while maintaining a self-esteem and a sense of humor may be difficult, but absolutely necessary. Channel the voice you've so carefully crafted for your company and use that. Instead of typing out a canned response, try encouraging further dialogue or -- etiquette-gurus, cover your ears! -- answer a question with a question. Keep sarcasm in check (and for your coworkers), and get creative.
And keep perspective
All moms know that nothing very good (more than five hours of sleep) or very bad (tantrums in the toy aisle) lasts for very long. What blows up will eventually blow over, raving or ranting. Remember the big picture: You are a positive brand influence using your superpower for the greater good. Resist the urge to compare yourself to others, and remember that we are all just doing the best we can. Don't lose yourself in the role of parent or company so much that you forget the humans who gave you such an important job in the first place.
So there you have it, motherly advice for responding to online comments. Power your day with the knowledge that you have more tools than you realized and drink as much reheated coffee as possible to do the rest.
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