Last Updated on August 1, 2020
Social Media Backchannels
Social media has helped to revolutionize many businesses, giving customers a direct contact with brands. But there are some downsides to the social media revolution. One of which is private social communication between customers and staff. By private social communication we mean the process of sharing work related content on a platform that isn’t specifically related, or attributed to work.Ready to Talk?
We’ve all done it at one point. Shared our personal email address, given a customer our whatsapp number, or asked to be DM’d on Twitter. Sometimes it’s the easiest way to fix a solution and in many cases it provides a ‘personal touch’ that can be useful in resolving a customer problem.
Why is This a Problem?
In isolated cases, this isn’t a huge problem. If you can help resolve a customer problem by sending a personal message, or sharing your private number then sometimes, the simplest solution is the best solution. But issues begin to arise if it becomes more regular and large amounts of business communication are being done outside of approved professional channels.
The main reason is the lack of oversight from the company. If I send a private DM on Twitter to help a customer, how does the person running the work Twitter account know if the situation still needs to be worked on? This can create duplicated effort and end up wasting more time than it saved in the first place.
This lack of oversight can also cause issues related to the quality of communication. With nobody to ensure that a company’s professional standards are being met, communication quality may drop below what is acceptable and there will be no way for the manager to know that has happened.
Another problem that can arise is that you are exposing your personal information to customers. This may not only be unprofessional, but also can open you up to personal risk by potentially highlighting where you live or other aspects of your life you might not want your customers to know about.
How to be Social on Social
We recommend taking the following steps if you want to reach out with your personal social media platforms to customers.
- Create another profile. Have a work friendly Facebook page, or Twitter account. Whenever you’re using it be aware that you may be interacting with your customers.
- Limit what you share on social media to friends only. This is probably good general advice anyway, as many people overshare on social media, but another step you can take is to just pare back what you are sharing on your existing profiles.
- Get added to your work’s official accounts. Adding several users can create complications, but if people’s roles are clearly defined having a few people checking a Facebook page, or Twitter account can be an efficient way of keeping everyone happy.
How to you make sure your team responds to customers and clients quickly, without blurring the lines of professionalism on social media? Do you manage business communication in the social world?