18 Mar 2019  •  Social Media and Digital Marketing  •  4min read By  • Richard Eccleston

A quick guide to responding to people via social media

The rise of social media has given dental practices and their employees the opportunity to reach patients and online communities with timely updates and information, at the click of a button.

While this can be helpful, it is important to remember that patients and other followers can also use these channels to communicate with you – or about you – in a positive or negative way.

As these responses and updates are usually publicly viewable, it is important that you reply or acknowledge as many of these as possible to protect – or even enhance – your brand. With this in mind, we’re sharing seven top tips on how to respond and react to customer messages:

Monitor social media for mentions of your practice

If people are talking about your practice on social media, they may not always be tagging you or your practice’s page in their updates. However, with many social media channels being set as ‘public’ by default, you can still see these using a variety of simple tools. For example, if you hook Twitterfall up to your Twitter account (Twitterfall.com) you can receive live updates of any key words, such as your practice’s name, that are being tweeted.

Always acknowledge any mentions – positive or negative!

If somebody has gone out of their way to talk about you or your practice online, it is best practice to respond or acknowledge this with a suitable reply. A quick ‘thank you’ or even a ‘favourite’ shows that you are listening, while any complaints should also be acknowledged (see further down for more details).

Be polite and personable

When responding to any messages, always be polite and personable. Including the person’s name and a quick hello shouldn’t be overlooked, and it may also be worth adding your own name – or the name of your staff member who replied – to the end of any message. That way you are providing a more human experience.

Investigate any negative reviews or comments quickly

Before responding, speak with your staff or think about your own experience with the person who has left the review. By finding out more information, you can formulate a timely, measured and accurate response that will be bespoke to the situation.

Attempt to diffuse any negativity. Apologise if necessary!

Social media can often be the first place that disgruntled customers turn to after a bad experience. We all have bad days, so if you believe the customer has had a poor experience, don’t be afraid to apologise. A simple ‘We’re sorry to hear about your experience today…’ message is often enough to get the reviewer back on side. It will promote your openness and honesty to others who may view the review online.

Stand up for your business… in a sensible manner.

If you believe that a review or comment has been especially unfair, don’t be afraid to say so through a carefully worded response. Your response should be polite, professional and honest. If a further negative response to this is received, do not respond online, other than to encourage the reviewer to get in touch via telephone or email. A simple ‘Thank you for your response, if you could please email the full details to us at …. we will investigate and respond accordingly’ may be enough.

Join the conversation

If you find that people are discussing your practice online, or are looking for recommendations for dental practices, don’t be afraid to get involved. Online forums and Facebook groups are often set up in local areas, and you can make the most of these to drive awareness of your practice to local people. With a bit of luck, people will respond with positive comments of their own experiences, thus building your brand even further.

We hope you found this short guide useful, and whether you’re an Instagrammer, Facebook user or tweeter, that you can now respond or react to your followers with confidence!

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