Businesses should respond to reviews on social media in order to foster community and maintain a dialogue with their customers.

This is key to brand building and customer loyalty.

Savvy companies that seek out customer input and use that feedback to improve their goods and services are putting success in their sights. Those who ignore what is being said about their brand online are taking a needless risk. Businesses should to respond to online reviews and social media comments as soon as possible, by using the plan outlined below.

Social media provides an easy way for businesses to get input fast and convey changes or improvements rooted in consumer commentary. Companies that are responsive to online input are more likely to build a favorable online reputation, even if some of the commentary is negative.

Creating a Plan

Input on social media can be good, bad, or indifferent. But wherever it falls, companies need a plan that outlines how they will respond. Will your company weigh in on every comment that is posted to its social media accounts, or only address certain kinds of comments? Outlining guidelines on how to respond will provide your company with consistency and establish a baseline for customer expectations.

Having a plan in place that outlines how a business will respond to online reviews or comments could be invaluable during a crisis. Social media response guidelines take the guesswork out of communications and will ensure that employees companywide are following uniform guidelines.

Positive, Negative, and Neutral

Responding to online comments on social media is one way to shape how your company is viewed by the online community. Companies that monitor what is being said about their brand online and engage with customers who post comments are more likely to develop a loyal following of consumers who feel a connection to the brand.

In a world where comments and complaints often go unanswered, businesses that listen will stand out.

Monitoring online conversations and responding to every comment, whether good or bad, provides companies with an opportunity to determine how they are perceived. A company that ignores a negative review misses the opportunity to make good on whatever may have gone wrong and ask for a second chance.

Bad reviews get more traction than good ones, which is why it’s important to solicit good reviews from satisfied customers. A company may provide great service most of the time, but if dissatisfied customers are the only ones who write reviews, the company’s online profile won’t be an accurate reflection of how customers really view the business.

Plan for the Worst

Companies that plan for the worst and hope for the best will be better positioned to handle negative reviews. Planning includes creating a crisis response plan before you need one, so you have a roadmap to follow if something goes awry.

Trying to figure out what to do in the midst of a crisis is the worst possible scenario. Outlining a crisis response plan ahead of time is the best way to make sure you have all the resources you may need in an emergency at your fingertips.

Businesses that establish a social media response plan and stick to it can shape how others perceive them based on how they answer good and bad customer reviews.

Need advice responding to customer reviews? Contact the PR professionals at Red Banyan for help.