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Small Business Social Media Best Practices: Message Templates

When your social networks are in their earliest growth stages, it’s crucial to give every customer as much personal attention as possible. Once they’ve grown a lot, or you have multiple people posting on your behalf, individualized messages aren’t always possible.

I recommend building a library of message templates, which you can paste into your social network posts. Message templates are great for:

  • FAQs. Do you really want to write a personal message every time someone tweets to ask you what your hours are?
  • Common problems. If you’re using social media to field customer service questions, having some well-worded draft posts available accomplishes two purposes: 1) they keep messaging consistent and 2) they deliver fast, right-the-first-time solutions.
  • Campaigns. Before a campaign, you can create draft messages to be used by multiple departments. You can also encourage employees to share on their personal networks using your template as a guide.

For FAQs

What are your hours? Are you open on Sundays? Do you have a store in Tallahassee? Do you have gluten-free menu items? Write a list of FAQs, post it on your website, and then save draft messages for every FAQ.

Let’s imagine you own a restaurant called Tortilla Tim’s, which makes wraps featuring tortillas made fresh in your restaurant. Let’s say you receive a tweet like this from @BurritoBoy19:

@tortilla_tims Are you open on Sunday? If you are, when do you close? #PleaseNoHungryManMealsTonite
Some social media management tools, like HootSuite, save drafts and allow you to select one by pressing a button whenever you compose messages. If you don’t have a social media management dashboard, fear not! Save your draft messages on a Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet for copying and pasting later.

Copy the draft into your compose space, and personalize it with the customer’s Twitter handle and, if you’re feeling humorous, a play on their hashtag:

@BurritoBoy19 We’re open Sundays from 11 to 7-see you soon! #RescuingYouFromHungryMan
Of course, Twitter isn’t the only place customers would post an FAQ. Create a draft you could copy and paste into the comment field on Facebook as well:

Wall post: Tortilla Tim’s, are y’all open on Sundays? I need a Fajita Wrap something fierce.

Your comment: Yes, _____, we’re open on Sundays until 7. See you there!

For Common Problems

Every company has customer problems they solve over and over again. Large companies have knowledge management systems so customer service agents can look up questions and access the right answers.

Adding draft posts to your knowledge management system makes customer service lightning fast. Let’s say that Tortilla Tim’s has a mobile app, and a customer is having a problem placing a to-go order. @tortilla_tims gets the following tweet from @jerseygirl84:

@tortilla_tims Help please! I want to place an order for your Hoboken store but can’t find it in the mobile app.
In your knowledge management system, you can immediately see a list of stores set up to accept online orders. Create the following draft message and save it to easily answer the question:

@____-Looks like online ordering isn’t available in _____ -sorry about that! Call ___ and we’ll have your order ready ASAP.
Then, personalize the tweet with the customer’s Twitter handle, the store location, and the store’s phone number. You can easily customize the same message to use as a Facebook comment.

For Campaigns

Imagine that Tortilla Tim’s offers a buy 4 wraps get the 5th free promotion on Cinco de Mayo, and you want your employees to promote it. Draft a campaign tweet that everyone can copy and paste to share on their social networks. For example:

¡Ay caramba! Today @tortilla_tims buy 4 wraps and get the 5th free in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Please RT #CelebrateCinco #TortillaTims
You can also attach an image to make your suggested tweet stand out. Your promo gets shared more widely, and your campaign messaging stays consistent.

Building Your Templates

If you find yourself posting something over and over, put it in your message template bank. Start by crafting messages for different circumstances. Then, personalize each message for individual networks. Save templates in your social media management application, or save them on an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet for easy access. Find, copy, paste, personalize. It’s really that simple.

When multiple employees or people from your marketing agency have the power to post to social media on your behalf, templates keep your messaging consistent. They also save time while still enabling you to provide personalized customer attention.

Keep an eye out for upcoming blog posts featuring small business social media best practices. For help with small business social media management, contact me.

 

Featured image credit: Kaboompics.com

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