Do you use Twitter for your B2B business? Looking to get more out of it and improve communication with your customers?
Twitter recently made it easier by changing the way the direct message feature works. Here’s how to use Twitter’s updated direct message feature to improve communication with your B2B customers.
@KateBour We’d love to walk you through both these questions. Could you DM us your email so we can reach out in detail?
— Asana (@asana) June 14, 2015
What’s Changed with Direct Messages? A direct message (DM) is a private message sent between Twitter users. It used to fall under the same 140-character restriction as Tweets, but had the additional restriction that only users that followed each other could send and receive the missives. This made using it for customer service difficult as it created another barrier between you and customers looking for help via Twitter. This is why you’d see many “Follow us so we can send you a DM” message from brands. Twitter has added a new option that let users opt to receive DMs from anyone, not just their followers. They’ve also removed the 140-character restriction from DMs, letting you type up to 10,000 characters in each message.
Both of these changes are great news for B2B brands who want to use it for customer service. Use Direct Messages for B2B Customer Service Providing customer service on social media is a relatively new thing, however many B2C brands are using it with great success. Half of all users actively look for customer service through social media, and almost the same proportion expect a response within one hour or less. The availability of Twitter on mobile, and the fact that messages are short, makes it one of the more popular methods for customer service.
Here are some tips to ensure a great customer service experience on social media:
- Invite Customers to DM You First
This sets the expectations with your customers on how you’ll communicate. If you @reply, they’ll expect an @reply back, and may miss your DM if they don’t know its coming. To avoid this, ask them to DM you first and open the conversation there. Especially if you need private information like an account number, a DM is the perfect way to share the information quickly without everyone else seeing it. The added bonus is that you’re creating a public record of your interaction with your customer, showing your followers that you respond in a timely fashion.
- Pay Attention to Replies
Direct messages are another way to have a conversation with a customer, so make sure you’re listening and responding in a timely manner. There’s no sense in taking the conversation private if you’re going to let it drop. Turn on the new option to Receive Direct Messages from anyone to skip the “Please follow me so we can DM” messages (which is different than asking someone to DM you as mentioned previously.) The feature’s off by default, so go to your Security and Privacy settings to turn it on.
- Look for Opportunities to Offer Help via DM
One-third of social media users place a high value on brands that engage with their followers. B2B brands that monitor their Twitter feeds regularly will be able to spot those opportunities for engagement and offer valuable assistance and information quickly. Here @Salesforce helps out with a customer support question, directing them to the right Twitter account for assistance:
— Salesforce (@salesforce) June 12, 2015
- Avoid the Temptation to Send Marketing Spam via DM
Many brands will view the new DM anyone feature as an invitation to send unsolicited marketing messages, which can be dangerous. A marketing DM is not the same as a marketing email because Twitter has no mechanism in place to give marketing contact permission, which is required by most global anti-spam laws.
If you send out unsolicited marketing DMs to Twitter users, they may block your account or report you for spam. Users who block your account won’t see any of your tweets and you won’t be able to see theirs. This can be an issue if they’re sending out negative tweets about your B2B brand. You won’t be able to see them unless you’re using some advanced monitoring tools for your brand.
If your messages are marked as spam, Twitter may block your account, closing off Twitter as a marketing channel for you. It takes many spam reports before your account is blocked, however it’s not something you’d want to risk for your corporate account.
- Ask for Feedback
Once you’ve assisted your customer with their question or issue, ask them for feedback before ending the DM conversation. Direct feedback from customers is a great way to see how you’re doing and address any gaps that you discovered.
Social Care is a Challenge, but worth It for B2B
Twitter’s recent changes to their direct messaging feature offers some new ways for B2B brands to reach out to customers and offer stellar customer service experiences. Whether it’s by solving a customer problem, or directing them to the appropriate support team, Twitter DMs can be a successful channel for B2B brands.