Do you ever find yourself answering the same questions or discussing the same benefits on social media? It’s not all that unusual as your customers will likely have a lot of the same questions. While the answers may be readily available on your website, many social media users prefer to ask a real person on Facebook or Twitter. A personal response is always preferred to a canned one; however, using text snippets as a starting point can make you more efficient and ensure that you deliver the accurate information each time. Here’s what you need to know.
What are Text Snippets?
If you use email signatures in your email client software, you’re using a text snippet. Text snippets are stored words, phrases, or even paragraphs of frequently used text. They’re usually associated with a keyboard shortcut.
Working with Text Snippets
Text snippet applications, such as Text Expander and Phrase Express, allow you to associate longer snippets with keywords. For example, you could associate different email signatures with the words “sig,” “sig1,” and “sig2.” Any time you need to add one of your signatures to a message or document, simply type the keyword and let the software fill in the details.
Note: Make sure to select uncommon but memorable words or abbreviations so that you don’t accidentally insert text inappropriately. You may even want to use a semicolon in front of your keywords such as: ;signature, ;bio, and ;greeting.
You can also use your word processor’s auto-correct feature to create text snippets. However, these snippets will only work in your word processor. If you intend to use text snippets on social media, you’d need to copy and paste the expanded text from your word processor to your social media interface. Thus, you may want to invest in a text expander app that works across your entire operating system.
Using Text Snippets on Social Media
Once you have a text snippet application, it’s time to start using it. Let’s start with the basics. For example, you might want to create snippets for the following:
- Greeting / acknowledgement – When someone asks a question or posts a comment on social media, it’s polite to start your response with some sort of a greeting or acknowledgement. It could be as simple as “Hi there. Thanks for reaching out to us on our Facebook page.” In order to not sound like a broken record, you may want to create several stock greetings. Use memorable shortcuts such as ;greet1, ;greet2, and ;greet3 (note the semicolons).
- Stock answers to common questions – What are your store hours? Where are you located? How long is your warranty? These are but a few questions you may find yourself answering time and time again. Create text snippets for your most common questions and save yourself from having to look up the details and type in the information over and over. Use descriptive shortcut phrases such as ;location, ;hours, and ;warranty.
- Product benefits – When users have questions about your products, it’s helpful to include a few of the product’s benefits. Create a benefit list for each of your products using a consistent shortcut convention such as ProductNameBenefits. For example, if you sell cosmetics, you’d have shortcuts such as ;MascaraBenefits, ;LipstickBenefits, and ;FoundationBenefits. While your text snippet may start off as a long list of product benefits, you don’t necessarily have to include the entire list. Use it as a starting point and edit the expanded text to suit your needs.
- Thank you / closing – Finally, create a few text snippets to close out your messages. Again, these can be as simple as, “Thank you for the opportunity to be of service. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.” Create several closing messages so that you can vary your sign offs.
Once you have a nice set of text snippets, you have a fantastic starting point to respond to questions on social media. The next time someone asks where you are located, you can simply call up a few text snippets by typing:
;greet1 ;location ;thx1
Your text expander software would then fill in your message such as:
Hi there. Thanks for reaching out to us on our Facebook page. We’re located at 123 Main Street on the corner of Main and First Street. If there’s no street parking, go through the alley to the rear where you’ll find plenty of parking and easy access to our store through the bright yellow doors. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Remember, your text snippets can be edited as needed to ensure that you don’t sound like a robot. Feel free to address the customer by name, too.