Managing Instagram or other social media channels for your organization? You’re often the first point of contact for supporters and potential donors. Image: Jopwell.

#Customerservice for social media managers

Nonprofit staff members managing social media are often in a unique position to be the first line of communication for supporters or community members with questions or concerns.

Think of your social media channels as a “uniform” that visually represents your team and your mission. Here are some tips to ensure your followers, friends, fans, and supporters feel valued by your organization.

Be personable

Ever notice an organization repeatedly copying and pasting the same response on a thread of comments? Yes, it’s difficult to uniquely respond to every comment. You can, however make small adjustments—like using their name within the comment—to let them know it’s a human being considering their needs and feedback.

Pro tip: the most frequently asked question is going to be the top comment, and most people will take notice.

View every comment as a new way to build a relationship. This person is either an existing supporter or they’re a potential one. Take this chance to increase retention rates or solidify a new donor. Don’t be afraid to convey real emotion. Your audience wants to know there are real people behind the social media channels instead of the usual robotic responses.

Respond promptly

Social media can start many a conversation. Your responses show donors and followers that your organization cares.

This is where following through is important. Once you create your social media pages, be committed to providing consistent quality customer service to your community. The Internet has created a world of instant gratification. When your supporters send a direct message or comment, they’re expecting a timely response. Monitor your inbox and watch for notifications, and don’t allow your response rate to become less than desirable—or even worse, non-existent.

You might not be able to answer their question, but you can pass it along to someone that can help. Ideally, your team will receive questions or concerns that can easily be resolved through a simple response. If not, pass it along to the appropriate department and surprise the messenger with a phone call. By reaching out promptly to resolve an issue, you satisfy their need and show that you value their insights.

Addressing sensitive topics on social media

With customer service also comes a form of public relations control. Social media is a known outlet for complaints, however, each negative comment offers a way to publicly make it right. It’s not easy to handle confrontation, especially on such public platforms.

Pro tip: take all sensitive issues to a personal message. Don’t ignore the initial comment, though. Let them know that you’ll be personally reaching out to resolve their concern. If you don’t acknowledge the comment, this gives the impression to followers that your organization ignores conflict. You won’t be able to please everyone, but if you position yourself as responsive and caring, you can avoid a PR blunder.

The key takeaway: Gone are the days of waiting for responses to phone calls and emails for customer support. Social media is the modern day first line of customer service. By providing a human perspective to your social channels, you can delight your followers and keep them engaged with your mission.

Maryjane Ragusa