As a small business, your internet presence is incredibly important for generating leads. 81% of consumers research purchases online before making a buying decision which makes online reputation management essential. Social listening and getting a sense of what users say about your brand is a good first step, as well as allowing (and responding to) user comments on your website or social profiles.
A good reputation isn’t the only benefit you can receive from user comments. With a community monitoring plan in place, you can use social media to research your industry. Keeping up with the industry discussion clues you in to user needs, industry trends and what the competition is up to. You can even proactively reach out to users whose needs you think your business can meet!
Set Up a Centralized Space for User Comments
Why do people work with small businesses over larger competitors? Often, it’s because smaller businesses offer a personal touch. As a small business on social media, use this to your advantage by being communicative and approachable to your audience. The best way to do this is to implement a community management plan and engage with users.
Social media comments help you understand your customers and leads. By forging relationships within the community, you can cultivate brand evangelists who will recommend and defend your brand. To deal with online comments, you need a place to host discussion. This could be on:
- Your website
- Your own forum
- Your blog
- A social media profile, or group of them
It’s best to establish a space for conversation, because you’ll be able to moderate and better respond to comments. Encouraging users to comment directly on a profile or page you manage, for example, makes discussion easier to handle than spread across the internet. If you’re not sure where to “set up camp,” so to speak, start with the network that feels right for your industry. You should still actively listen, though, on other social networks.
Engage with Social Media Comments—Good AND Bad
Whether engagement is positive or negative, small businesses can gain a lot from a simple response. Let’s start with negative engagement first. If a user has something bad to say about your business, respond respectfully rather than defensively. Show that you take their feedback into consideration, and offer to set things right. For example, if someone had an issue with an order or their service, apologize in your public response, assert your willingness to work with the customer, and offer a private channel—say, email—to speak more in-depth with the issue.
Look at negative engagement as an opportunity to change a customer’s mind. Showing that you care can make the negative user feel better about your brand overall. And when prospective customers see the interaction, they might place more trust in your business and be encouraged to convert!
Even though there’s no mind to change with positive engagement, you should still respond whenever able. This helps build loyalty and a sense of community.
Good Community Management Includes Comment Moderation
Diligent comment moderation protects your online reputation from trolls and ensures a safe space for conversation. When users don’t have to worry about feeling attacked, they’re more likely to jump into the conversation. Comment moderation also shields your profile from being overtaken by spam—and, by extension, protects your users who might fall for a malicious spam link.
As a small business, your team may be ill equipped to keep up with the pace of conversation. Outsourcing community management may be too expensive. If this sounds familiar, rest assured that you can protect your brand and community with automated comment moderation.
Our machine learning-based comment moderation system works around the clock to automatically erase spam, abusive language and profanity. It learns to integrate with your moderation approach, granting you a unique comment moderation AI. Since it erases harmful language within a minute of posting, your business won’t have to deal with the busywork of constant moderation. Instead, you can focus on engaging with your community!