6 Ways to Clean Up Your Brand’s Social Media Inbox

By: Sofie De Beule

November 24, 2014

With billions of conversations happening on social media every day, it’s easy to get lost in the stream of social messages about your brand. But what does it actually take to keep your social media inbox clean? Why should you invest a lot of effort into it?

Is there a way to arrange your social media inbox just like you arrange your Gmail Inbox? How can you make sure every mention about your brand or campaign gets the right action within a certain time frame?

Tracking all of the relevant activity about your brand is one thing, knowing how to organize your data is another. Keeping your social media inbox “clean” will help structure the data you are pulling, and organize your social media team as well as creating a more efficient team workflow.

To keep your head above the water, introduce an ‘Inbox Zero’ policy. Meaning that you aim to keep your inbox empty, or almost empty, at all times. In this day and age, this truly is one of the most key principles in the social customer service philosophy. It helps brands to achieve their goals more efficiently, keeps better track of their actions, and ultimately makes them more productive.

Here are some methods you can apply to introduce an ‘Inbox Zero’ policy for your brand:

  • Immediately resolve messages you replied to in order to maintain a good overview of all the actions that still need to be taken
  • If messages need a longer response, move them to another folder (either manually or automatically)
  • Instantly assign mentions that need to be answered by another department or another team member

Let’s take a look at these 6 tips your brand can adopt today to clean up your social media inbox.

1. Tweak Your Keyword Search to Cut Through Any Noise

First things first. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Setting up and tweaking your keyword search truly is the core foundation of organizing your social media inbox and unlocking the right data. Dive into the complexity of your mentions and understand how people talk about your brand. Are you making sure you’re tracking the right mentions? If not, make sure to exclude them right away.

Bear in mind that tweaking your keyword search is a continuous learning process that requires non-stop improvements. What is relevant now, might not be relevant in the future. It’s all about testing, specifying, filtering and getting rid of keywords. Especially if you are dealing with a tricky brand name (e.g. monitoring the iconic brand name ‘Apple’, which is also a very generic word). For example, once campaigns are over, it’s important to get rid of keywords.

2. Set Up ‘Magic’ Automation Recipes

Another key element to organize your data and make sense of it is by creating automation recipes. They are called ‘recipes’ because you actually create types of ‘formulas’ in order to perform actions on a consistent basis, without having to do much work to them. With automation recipes, you can trigger various essential actions automatically (e.g. automatically filter specific data in a separate folder, edit a mention, resolve a mention) to help your social media team become more efficient and effectively reduce the workload.

Get a grasp of the automation recipes that are most relevant to your brand. For example, some brands don’t want respond to profanity (when people simply use very rude and offensive language). With a specific automation recipe, you can move these social media messages to a separate folder. In this case, you don’t want to delete these social messages permanently, but you want to keep them to maintain an overview of your brand.

3. Automatically Resolve Mentions That Never Need A Reply or Action

In some cases, incoming social media messages don’t need a reply. Mentions like Foursquare check-ins, your own published post, likes, retweets, etc. are a great example. Don’t let them clutter your social media inbox and make sure you automatically resolve them. By doing this, you can keep them in your account, but don’t have to go through much effort to organize your incoming data.

4. Filter On ‘Language’ or ‘Country’ (Or Any Other Value) Via Separate Folders

An important way of organizing social media messages is by filtering mentions based on language or country. Especially when working in an international environment, filtering on language is very relevant to immediately assign mentions to the right person and filter them in the right folder. In some cases, social customer service representatives are responsible for replying to mentions from a certain country or in a specific languages. By filtering them in a separate folder, messages immediately find their way to the right person.

5. Introduce Saved Filters And Save Precious Time

You finally found the perfect filter to unlock the right data set, but can’t recall the exact recipe or formula?

Similar to automation recipes, you need to save all the crucial filters you have created in the past. This way, you don’t need to set them up again each time. Using saved filters is very useful while working on a campaign. As you will be using specific keywords at that period in time, finding the right messages through saved filters instantly provides you with the right data.

6. Tag Extensively to Provide Context

Context is everything in social media. Who is talking to me? What is their issue? Which specific question do they have? Make sure you label conversation with tags.

Tagging every mention in your social media inbox ultimately saves your social media team a lot of time when creating reports on your performance and optimizing your customer service workflows. For example, you can tag people (like journalists or influencers) to instantly know the context of a mention that comes in. Once again, you can either add tags manually or automatically. Does your brand want to prioritize answering influencers’ questions first? Create a tag to automatically label an incoming message of a person who has more than 1,000 Twitter followers.

This article originally appeared on Maximize Social Business.