Things can get hairy on social media. If a user is complaining about a terrible experience with a brand, or comments on a post start to get offensive, it’s important to stay calm. If you try to respond while you’re panicked or angry, chances are you’re just going to make things worse. The best way to remain calm in these situations is to create a crisis management plan beforehand. Develop a response protocol for how complaints and other negative comments should be dealt with.
As a community manager, it’s tempting to want to take snarky or nasty users to task. They might not have all the right information, and you’re in a position to give it to them. Use that power for good. Strive to be helpful, informative and, most of all, incredibly kind. Sass only works if it’s a well-known part of your brand voice.
Asking questions and starting conversations is the bread and butter of community managers. However, you need to be in tune with your audience and know what questions and conversations to avoid. We know all too well the #McDStories debacle and other hijacked hashtags and comment threads. Know what your brand’s pain points are, know what the most common complaints the brand receives, know the sentiment of your audience and plan accordingly.
Being funny is great, but when it comes to community management, put customer service first and comedy second. It’s great when you can inject personality into your brand voice, but jokes can get in the way or sometimes make people think you’re not taking their feedback seriously. People will always choose a brand that actually helps them over a brand that’s just good at being witty.
Timing is everything in community management. We always strive to keep our response times down to at least a couple of hours. People use social media to have real-time or quick interactions with their friends, so they’re expecting the same from brands. We create community management schedules and response protocols so that we can respond in a timely matter to anything that comes in over our channels. Of course, sometimes you have to contact your client or someone on the team before you can respond. Be sure to let the person who contacted you know by replying something like, “That’s a great question. I’m looking into that now and should have an answer for you soon. Stay tuned!”
Every community manager is going to encounter trolls or the person who cannot be pleased. Always try your best to be helpful, but have your team come up with protocol so that you can determine when it’s best to bow out gracefully. If the person cannot be specific in their complaint or is using language or behavior that can’t be tolerated, give them fair notice, and then block, ban, or report accordingly. This is always your last resort, and it’s usually a rare case.