The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

Small Businesses Can Use Social Media To Improve Customer Service

Small Business Owner

Owning or being a part of a small business can be extremely rewarding, but also hard work.  Being a part of a small business can mean that you have to wear many hats.  This article provides tips on how small businesses can use social media to improve their customer service.

How many hats do you wear?

Many days you will be the owner who is responsible for business and financial decisions. Also, the marketer who is responsible for getting your brand recognized by your customers. And, the customer service representative who is responsible for resolving customer complaints. You’ll also be the bookkeeper who is responsible for maintaining financial records. As well as, the secretary who is responsible for scheduling appointments. Most importantly, the janitor who is responsible for keeping the shop clean. In other words, small business owners are a jack of all trades.

Small Businesses Social Media

Small Business Owner Doesn’t Equal Easy…

I previously owned my own business. It was a busy photography studio located at the center of my small town. Every day I played the part of the owner, the marketer, the customer service representative, the bookkeeper, the secretary and the janitor and let me tell you something…. It was HARD WORK.

Small Businesses Social Media Downtown West Plains
Downtown West Plains, MO, photo taken by Lindsey Thompson

This is a picture of the street my studio was on.  As you can see, it’s not exactly a booming area with customers lined up waiting at the door to get in.  My studio was located upstairs. I didn’t even have an eye-level window front.  Social media would have made it much simpler to reach and serve my customers.

Small Business Social Media Benefits

Unfortunately, I owned my small business more than 15 years ago. It was before social media was a big thing.  Therefore, I look back now and think how much easier it could have been for me if social media would have been what it is now. 

Small Businesses Social Media

Small businesses can use social media to connect and engage with their customers.  It can be used to create relationships and a loyal brand following. Most importantly, small businesses can use different social media platforms to serve their customers better.  

According to a SproutSocial survey, 90% of people surveyed have used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand.  What’s more, social surpasses phone and email as the first place most people turn when they have a problem or issue with a product or service.   

Social Media Quick Tips

Here are a few tips small businesses can utilize to improve customer service through social media:

  • Quick Replies – Brands can utilize social media to provide customer support quicker than they can via phone or email.  It is important to reply quickly, but not so quickly that you don’t resolve the customer issue.  Providing a generic response that doesn’t solve the issue can cause more frustration.
  • Positive Posts – When a customer might be unhappy with your product or service and posts a negative experience or review, you can counter with something positive and make every effort to fix their problem online so that others can see.  This shows all of your customers that you value their opinion.  Getting negative feedback isn’t the end of the world for your brand, it should be used as an opportunity to show off your amazing customer service skills.
  • Monitor your competition – Keep a close eye on your competitors and how they deal with customer service online.  This will give you ideas on how to deal with problems in your industry and allow you to listen to the conversations that are happening between potential customers and your competition.
  • Ask for feedback – Social media can be used for more than just brand promotion.  You can use it to ask for feedback from your customers providing them the chance to voice their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your brand.

In Conclusion…

In conclusion, it’s important to remember not to view tools like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram only as promotional tools, but view them as powerful tools that create two-way dialogue between your brand and your customers and potential customers.  If I could go back now and reopen my business with the additional tools of social media, I know I would have had a much better outcome.

Do you own your own small business?  How has social media benefitted your business?  Share your tips and tricks in the comment section below.

Category: Social Media Marketing 201