Social media: Go, go, go or slow, slow, slow?

Posted in Social Media | August 11,2011

We are living in Generation NOW. Social media and the Internet have conditioned us to expect things instantly.  For example, you ask your followers for dinner suggestions and within minutes you have many options to choose from.

As a consumer, my desire for an instantaneous response is no different when I’m posting to my friends or when I’m looking for an answer from a business. I want feedback and I’ll check Facebook repeatedly looking for it. And as a marketer, I want to respond to that negative comment or question as quickly as possible, because I try to make my clients look super awesome. The question remains, is quicker always better?

Social media often puts marketers in a tricky situation.  Do you answer a pressing question immediately or take your time, gathering information to give the most complete and accurate answer you can? The answer is somewhere in the middle.

When managing a brand in social media, we often want to rush in and respond to posts and tweets immediately. You know, engage with them. Tell them what they want to hear and fast. I know I’m really impressed when a brand responds to me in less than five minutes. This is appropriate when someone asks, “Hey, what time do you open?” But what if someone makes a complaint or asks something that catches you off guard.

At times like these, I like to take a step back. It’s important to make sure your response is appropriate and accurate. If the client is in a heavily regulated field, such as medical, it’s also important to make sure your response won’t get you into any legal trouble. Sometimes it’s better to take 15 minutes or even a few hours to ensure you have the most up-to-date and appropriate response. If any part of you doubts your response, then ask a colleague. If you both have doubts, odds are it’s not a good response.

And if you truly don’t know the answer, don’t be afraid to refer them to customer service (or better yet offer to have customer service call them) or let them know you don’t know, but will get the answer as quickly as possible. The key to this is to actually do what you say you’re going to do. You would be better completely ignoring someone than saying you’ll follow up and never do.

Best, Chrissy Madison Social Media Specialist