Among their other duties, marketers are the folks who have the pleasure of interacting with fans and followers across every social platform. And as the number of social networks grow, so do the number of places curious customers can type their questions, vexations, and suggestions.
Seriously ... they'll come at you from all social media angles. The more your social media reach grows, the more those inquiries and comments flood in. And while some of the communications are nice and helpful, some are, well, decidedly not.
Don't get me wrong; marketers love their fans! And when we're not monitoring our business' accounts, we're tweeting our complaints and recommendations to company handles, too -- it's all part of the social media circle of life. But when you're on the receiving end of all those comments, some of them can get a little frustrating to deal with. So for all of you marketers in the same boat, let this list of social media manager frustrations serve as your free therapy session. And if you think of things that irk you as a social media manager that aren't on this list, leave them in the comments -- along with recommendations with how best to deal with them!
Spammy Auto-follow Messages
You know the auto-follow message -- you follow someone on Twitter, and then get an automated message back from them with a "thank you" and a promotional link of some sort.
When you're monitoring a brand's large social presence that requires you to check every message you receive, you can bet these spamtastic messages are disruptive and annoying. And if you're scanning your DM inbox, it's easy for real DMs that require a response to be buried by spam and auto-follow messages.
So how can you alleviate this frustration? First, take a deep breath. Then, just ignore them. If you want to spend time unfollowing spammers to clear your inbox, go for it -- depending on the size of your social following, you may be able to keep up with it on a daily basis. But the best thing to do is simply ignore the spam, keep your eyes open for real messages that require a response, and never let thise irksome spammers get in the way of your job.
Users Who Commandeer the Comment Space
You know who I'm talking about. This person clearly has something to say, and for some reason thinks the only way you'll notice is by posting to your wall, and commenting on every single update you post. Oh, and often it's the same comment -- or a slightly modified version -- every time. It's not that you don't want comments (of course you do!); it's that this type of behavior stifles the conversation for other commenters, and that's the last thing any social media manager wants. Diversity of comments is what we're striving for!
So what's the best way to handle this type of behavior? You certainly don't want to discourage engagement, right? Right. So respond by drafting an official response to their question or comment, and placing it on one spot on your page -- wherever seems most logical to you. Then respond to the user in a friendly but informal tone, something like, "Hey Overeager Oliver! I just wanted to let you know that I saw your comment on our wall, and I left a response there." Except you'd call them by their real name, of course ;-)
Now here's the part that may surprise you -- it's a good idea to post an original response (not copy and pasted, lest you come off sassy) like that on every comment that fan posted. Why? Because if you only respond once, another user may see their comment on another part of your page and assume you just ignored them. And that wouldn't look too good, eh?
Commenters Who Didn't Actually Read Your Content
Whether in a positive or negative tone, the number of comments I've seen on either a blog post or Facebook update without actually reading the content is hair-pulling. Whether it's someone suggesting you include a particular example (that you did include), or someone pointing out your clear ignorance by disregarding a particular study (also included), it's frustrating.
When this happens, just respond kindly. No matter how vexed you are at someone's clear overscan of your post, thank them for taking the time to share whatever they said, and then sweetly point out that you did actually talk about or include their point. If you didn't include it, thank them for bringing it up and tell them you'll check it out and perhaps use it in your next analysis. Even if you don't, at least they recognize that you care about what they had to say.
Social Media Messages About Careers
Sometimes your fans love you so much they actually want to work for you. So they take to the social media sphere to create a personal connection and show how much they want a job with your company. Thing is, social media (with the exception of LinkedIn, of course) is so not the place for job requests. Perhaps in a very small business you can grab some luck, but by and large whoever manages a business' social presence is not in charge of recruiting employees, nor do they know about job openings.
So when you're encountered with these messages, you can huff and puff about how it's not your job to field these questions -- or you can err on the side of productivity. If you happen to have the right information, share it. If not, let them know that you don't and that you'll forward their message to the right person within your company. And make sure you actually do forward the message to the right people. Yes, it's annoying to deal with these inquiries, but once you come up with a system it shouldn't take too much time out of your day.
Users Who Call You Out on Every Mistake
Yes, as content creators we need to know basic grammar and spelling -- and we do (I hope). But sometimes a little mistake slips by. It happens. We're human. When you're monitoring six social networks and posting messages to each, sometimes you might say "is" instead of "are." But for some reason, there are those fans and followers who feel the need to point out every little mistake you make, even if clarity isn't diminished as a result of the mistake. Even more irksome, sometimes you address that you made the mistake, and still more commenters come out and alert you to your faux pas.
When this happens, marketers need to do a combination of slow deep breaths, and gracious apologies. Yes, even if the commenters are being the rudest human beings on the planet over a silly typing boo-boo. Why do this? Because often, it turns those negative nancies into brand advocates. You may even see other fans of yours come to your rescue! I recently screwed up big time on Facebook by pasting the wrong link, and spelling "Lego" wrong. But my sincere apology yielded a surprise turn of events:
See? Don't let the occasional finger-pointer get you down -- your fans love you, and sometimes they're nice enough to let you and the rest of the world know!
Users Who Want a Response NOW
You know what happens sometimes? Lunch. Know what else? A meeting. So it's a little frustrating for marketers who come back to their desk after being gone 30 or 60 minutes, only to find a social massacre taking place on your latest Pinterest pin, Facebook status update, tweet, etc. These people are like ticking time bombs ... the longer you don't respond, the more angry they get, and more updates they post. Patience, please! While social media marketers would love to be able to respond to everyone in a split second, it's usually just not feasible. So apologize for your delayed response (again, without any sass), and do not make up an excuse for it. Clearly, the theme of being apologetic is running through this post, huh?
Uninformed Guest Blog Post Submissions
I've seen this via email, Facebook, and even in blog comments. You want to guest blog for a blog? Wonderful! Do you have any idea what we typically blog about? No? Ugh. Believe it or not, I've gotten Facebook messages suggesting a guest blog post about health clinics for our inbound internet marketing blog. The message wasn't even customized or catered to the HubSpot blog, and was clearly a blanket message sent out to multiple Facebook pages.
Whether someone is just proposing topics, or they've already written an entire post, it's frustrating to spend time reviewing and responding to requests that are totally unrelated to what your blog usually writes about. Guest bloggers should do a little research about what has already been posted to make sure they are suggesting content that is both original and relevant.
When this does happen, take a moment to politely respond with why you can't accept their topic ideas or submission. And hey, let them know that if they can create a post that is beneficial to your target audience, you'll certainly consider publishing it!
Do you manage any of your business' social media accounts? Have you encountered any of these frustrations? Is there any pet peeve we missed? Share your experiences in the comments!
Image Credit: Suffusion Social
Originally published Jun 4, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013