Timing Is Everything: The Here & Now of Social Media


I’ve been searching the web for best practices and top 10 lists of social media practices and there are a few key messages that pop up over and over:

1. Immediacy is key: respond quickly!

In the fast pace of social media, consumers are getting used to immediate engagement. If their friends half way around the world can respond to their tweets and facebook messages instantly then why can’t businesses and organizations? The new expectation is, in fact, that businesses will respond with the same urgency as a friend would to the posting of cute puppy photos. In fact, 42% of consumers complaining in social media expect 60 minute response time, and among those respondents who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours. (http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-research/42-percent-of-consumers-complaining-in-social-media-expect-60-minute-response-time/)


KLM does a great job of this. On their Twitter page they let their customers know how long their response time is and the graphic is updated every 5 minutes. Response time isn’t alway within the 60 minute or less ‘ideal’ range but at least this way they are in front of the problem – managing their customer’s expectations.


2. Be responsive around the clock: The 9-5 mentality is old news

In our globally connected world, your organization will encounter consumers around the clock and every day of the year. You need to know your audience and anticipate when they are most likely to have issues or concerns. For instance, if you’re a clinic, your patients may have no problem reaching your support staff during business hours but if they have health questions or concerns after hours they will be more likely to take to social media and this is when you need to monitor it most.

3. Don’t delete comments: Contributors don’t like censorship

Inevitably any organization will come up against negative comments or feedback on social media. The key is not to lose your calm; respond respectfully and whenever possible, implement real world solutions to address the contributor’s concerns. Deleting posts, blocking followers, or any kind of censorship will reduce trust among your followers and discourage their active engagement with your organization and brand. (http://www.verticalresponse.com/blog/handling-crisis-on-social-media/)

4. Monitor your brand & hashtags in real time: Alerts, alerts, alerts!

In order to stay engaged with your audience you need to be aware of what is being said about your organization and who is saying it. In some cases this is so you can link with other like minded organizations that may be talking about you in a positive way, and in others its so you can quickly identify and address any negative feedback. The more connected you are with the people and organizations that are interested in you, the more effective you will be in engaging them and hopefully creating partners and advocates. Monitoring your brand, name & hashtags is easy with lots of online tools – many free – to do the job in real time. (http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5822-google-alerts-alternatives.html) Take a look at some of the most recommended:






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6 thoughts on “Timing Is Everything: The Here & Now of Social Media

  1. Great post! And this seems very real in my life. As a public health professional, I struggle with knowing how to balance my work/life when these expectations for immediacy of communications are so real. Do you stop taking weekends off because of the expectation of a 1-2 hour turnaround on communications? How much time should we spend on Twitter? Should you hire someone specifically to manage every aspect of communications, since it’s just too much for people with other job responsibilities to handle it? I wonder what the best leadership and management practices might be for public health professionals like myself.

  2. There seems to be a common thread running through this week’s blog about the amount of time it takes to do this well. If this is becoming (or already is) a necessity rather than an interesting diversion I am concerned how smaller non-profits, particularly local ones, will be able to compete with the resources of larger, national brands.

  3. Thanks Randall & Caricia for your comments. As a small nonprofit founder (organization of 1 – me) I struggle with this constantly. I have been able to make social media a priority to the point where I post weekly but I’m constantly feeling like its not enough. Though I wonder if I were posting everyday if I would feel any better. The internet is a never ending rabbit hole of people and organizations to follow, retweet, connect with, etc and I don’t think there is ever a point where you can be doing it all. In the coming months I will be bringing on a student intern to oversee all social media and I think, like Caricia mentioned, that having someone exclusively dedicated to social media will help alot. . . . stay tuned.

  4. Dana, you are 100% right when it comes to response time. When I send out messages to websites or social media, I crave responses back. If I do not receive a response back within 30 minutes I think, “Oh well. I guess what I said was not that interesting.” I think my biggest problem with social media is that I tend to respond or write with lengthy (in my opinion) meaningful responses. When I get short sentences or nothing in return I am often disappointed. Oh well, “C’est la vie.”

  5. Great Post,
    I really like the best practice of being responsive and responding quickly because if we don’t respond that shows that we do not care about that post/person’s opinion. And we certainly don’t want to offend people and lose followers.

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