There isn’t anything sadder in the hospitality social media world than a customer posting about their positive experience with your brand, or commenting on your post, only to see their message go completely ignored. To users who increasingly view social media as a tool to connect with businesses, and a tool for customer service, it comes across as unorganized or downright rude to ignore engagement from your audience this way.
In reality, we know the person behind the brand probably isn’t rude. Or didn’t mean to be. More likely? That business probably hasn’t developed a responsive, interactive social media plan – or hasn’t dedicated staff time to doing so.
I know firsthand how much time it takes to acknowledge and respond to messages for a business on social media in a timely manner. There are entire positions dedicated to it now, called community managers!
I have experience running social media channels for brands that receive notifications from enthusiastic followers, customers, and would-be guests seemingly all day long. And I’ve made it an integral part of my social media strategy for all clients that we not only acknowledge engagement from our followers, customers, and communities at large – but that we go above and beyond in responding to them and making them feel appreciated. And I think other businesses could be a lot better about this, too.
So what do I mean, specifically? At the very least, I recommend “liking” comments that followers and would-be guests leave on your posts. Perhaps even commenting back if it’s appropriate and there’s a conversation that can be developed. And when a guest or follower posts their own photo about my client’s brand or business? You can bet I’m there, liking it (again, at the least!), commenting on it to thank them, and perhaps sharing their post to my client’s Instagram Story, or saving it to re-share later.
And what am I NOT doing? When I see a message notification in Instagram or Tiktok that a follower mentioned my client, I’m not just opening that message (which, people can see that you did, by the way) – but I’m also “liking” the story, responding and thanking them, and letting them know I hope they enjoyed their experience with our business. No one likes to feel ignored – especially not a customer you hope will return!
By now, you’re probably wondering how to fit this responsive engagement into your already busy social media routine, which may not even be managed by a dedicated staff member. Pro tip: with this kind of quick social media task – time blocking is your friend! Set a calendar alert for yourself – at the same time every morning (or whenever you get your social media work done), and spend 10 minutes responding to your notifications. Once it’s built into your routine, it will begin to feel natural. (and if you don’t have time for social media strategies like this in general… it might be time to hire a social media manager to help you!)
Long story short: social media is a SOCIAL tool. It’s not a one way street where you can dump your latest promotions and then not log in again for a week. It’s where your community is eager to connect with you, and you should stop leaving them on “read.”
Meaghan Webster is an experienced photographer and marketing manager in the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. She helps clients with everything from social media, to email marketing, websites, and content creation. Learn more about her work at meaghanwebster.com or see her latest updates at instagram.com/meaghanwmarketing.