Hello Mr. Company, Are You There?

Posted by Derrik Jacobson | Follow him on Twitter
When you ask a company a question in social media it merits an immediate response from that business, correct?

This is the ever-growing expectation: somebody should be there to answer your question when asked.   As a customer, this makes a difference.

And, despite the toll on resources many businesses are moving beyond traditional workday hours to make this so; and they are ever monitoring the speed at which questions and comments are addressed and are trying to do it faster.

The demands of optimizing a business’s direct buying funnel have forged this change in the nature of commerce and there is no going back.

However, what of the messages published by brands?  Outside of the buying cycle, companies must also allocate resources to both marketing within social media and in other traditional formats.  New customers will always be vital to survive and grow.

To put the best foot forward, social media requires just as much strategic timing of messaging as do commercials, radio spots, and other seasonal efforts – with each little targeting variable unique to your business.

So here’s the dilemma...

Your company’s operating hours are 8am to 6pm.  Your social media business starts at 10pm when all the mommy bloggers that you cater to are free of tending to their families.

Enter scheduled posting.

You’ve found a solution, right?  At some point during the day you are able to queue up your social media posts for that evening so that come 6pm you’re done for the day.

You finish up your work day, start thinking about dinner and go home to relax.

You’re good at that.

Suddenly, it’s 10pm and your posts are live.

AND, you’re not online.

What if your marketing offended your social media community in your absence?

In this case, it did.  This evening’s scheduled message receives a lot of comments and evolves into a negative discussion of your brand before you can delete it.  Or even see it.

But hey, you’re at home and relaxing.  Your work day is done.

The next morning you notice that everybody looks frantic as you wander back into the office.  You grab your coffee and sit down to check in on your social media profiles.

Uh oh.

Two key things happened here.  One, you weren’t online to manage your community.

Two, and most importantly, your fans just told you a lot about what they expect of your business.

Yes, you could have been available online at all hours to monitor your social media presence and possibly might have curbed the situation that you created.

You could have deleted the post.  (In fact, you still can.)

Wrong move.

The community management was lacking, yet the situation and backlash might have been worse.  What if you deleted the post entirely or jumped in without fully listening to and understanding what your fans and customers had to say?

How many might you have angered or lost entirely?

They comment because they cared.  Listen to them.

So here’s your opportunity.

Respond to them.  Thoughtfully.

Don’t be afraid to be apologetic.

They will be listening and will be eager to see how your business responds.

These people are your fans and your customers.  Build expectations that you do have their best interests in mind, even when you might not be there to answer right away.

Scheduled postings do not have to be taboo.  Businesses can sleep too.

Listen.  Respond.  Build trust.

Take the opportunity to strengthen these customer relationships.  Even if it requires an apology.

This is what social media and relationships are all about, right?

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I am a nomad of responsibilities that I still can't quite seem to explain to grandma. I analyze, create, stream-line, manage, and fix stuff that breaks.

Soccer is my passion, learning is a full-time hobby, and coffee is a way of life. My adventures have led me through numerous travels, an exploration of language, critical thinking, and a world of design. You can now find me in Seattle, leading the charge to push the limits of technology at Project Bionic.

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