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Social media has transformed from a place where people stay in touch with friends and family to a place where people routinely discuss the products and services they’re using on a daily basis. Research from JD Power finds that an estimated 67% of consumers now tap networks like Twitter and Facebook for customer service. Furthermore, Nielsen found that 33% of customers prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone.

Encouraging your followers to speak up and discuss your brand on social media has become one of the best ways to gather feedback that allows you to truly understand your customers, build customer loyalty, and continuously improve what your brand has to offer.

We’ve put together 4 of the easiest ways to mine your brand’s social media channels for customer feedback.

1. Facebook reactions

Facebook introduced a new way for users to engage with content in their newsfeeds called Facebook Reactions. These five reactions, which include “love”, “haha”, “wow”, “sad”, and “angry”, allow audiences to go beyond liking or commenting on a post and express exactly how they feel about what they’re seeing or reading.

For most brands, Facebook reactions provide an excellent way to gather feedback about a product or service in a simple and fun format. Instead of linking to an external form for feedback, simply post a question on Facebook and ask your customers to select one of these reactions. This is a quick and simple way to find out exactly what they’re thinking, or how they feel about your brand. You can also view a breakdown of reactions on each post in Facebook Insights.

2. Social listening tools

Social media channels are invaluable for gathering client feedback. There are a variety of “social listening” tools available to gather what people are saying about your brand and your competitors. Monitoring these mentions is a great way to improve your followers’ experience and respond quickly to any issues. Cover all your bases by setting up alerts each time your brand is mentioned with Google Alerts, Mention, or Klout.

When it comes to social media, time plays an important role. It’s vital that your brand puts a system in place to monitor and quickly address any negative comments or issues your audience may voice. According to Blast Media, 47% of the people who complain on social media expect a reply from the business, and 40% of those people expect it to be within an hour. Many brands now use a combination of in-house staff and third-party tools like those mentioned above to monitor all of their social channels.

3. Facebook Groups

Creating a forum or space on your website for feedback is easy to implement but requires a separate monitoring system. Instead of creating an independent space to gather feedback, why not offer more ways to provide feedback on a platform you’re already monitoring?

Facebook recently rolled out a new feature called “Groups for Pages” which will allow brands and businesses to create their own “fan clubs” and be closely connected to their loyal supporters without leaving their Facebook page. These groups will allow ongoing real-time discussions between users in the group and between users and the group’s admins.

Facebook claims there are currently 70 million pages across the social networking site. Opening up a discussion forum on every single one of these pages means marketers will have an effortless way to collect feedback from customers for every brand or product page they manage.

4. Twitter Polls

When we want to voice our true thoughts and opinions (especially if it’s about a bad experience with a company) most of us turn to Twitter. According to Twitter, in the past two years the number of Tweets directed at leading brands’ customer service usernames has grown by 2.5x.

Twitter has made it much easier for brands to gather feedback from their followers with native Twitter polls.

These polls can be generated and shared right on Twitter, and they take away a lot of the negative stigma tied to traditional customer feedback surveys. You can set your poll to last as little as five minutes or as long as seven days to give you time to gather responses. Adding a hashtag can also help make it easier for people to find your polls and for you to track conversations.

Treating your brand’s social media channels as a means to serve your customers and enhance their overall experience with your brand is vital. A survey by Bain & Co. estimates that 89% of businesses rely on customer service as their primary means of competition. With so many media outlets, advertisements, and devices competing for our time, if you can show your audience that your company is listening and you care about their wants and needs, you can be sure you’ll stay one step ahead of your competition.

Have any other tips for gathering customer feedback on social media? Share them with us in the comments.

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