Social media customer service is similar to being on a retail floor and responding promptly to a customer’s need. Chances are that customer will return if your service is great, and they may even tell a family member or friend about their experience. This could translate into potential customers for your company.

The same rule applies with social media customer service. When I am out consulting with brands that are just getting started, I advise them to include customer service into their social media strategy, so they know how to respond to certain adverse commentary.    "Social Care"

As social media continues to evolve more and more consumers are using social networking platforms to voice their concerns. According to research firm NM Incite, 47 percent of social media users are engaging in social care.

Existing companies primarily using social media to promote their namesake will have to embrace two-way conversation.

Increasing your response frequency to customer comments is by far the biggest adjustment you can make. If you’re unable to provide up-to-minute answers that’s fine. The next best thing would be to prep your team for the kind of comments that raise red flags. Any time these red flags present themselves someone from your team should respond in a timely fashion.

Most importantly, you need to keep in mind that what works for others may not work for you. Whether you develop a community forum or manage a Facebook page, an effective social media customer service strategy will reflect well on your company and possibly boost a return on investment.

To get a better sense of how some of the larger companies are using social care take a look at the listed brands in this article.