The speed at which we respond on social media is important

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

It might even be nearly as important as what we actually say, said Scott Stratton during his keynote at Content Marketing World in Cleveland in September 2014.

I believe that’s true…

If I post something to social media – a question to a brand, for example – I expect to get an answer now. Right now.

A study published by Forbes in 2014 said that most users expect a response within an hour.

Got it. You’ll have to be speedy. But speedy, meaningless responses are just that – meaningless.

In this category fall any responses that pretty much could be used in response to a number of social media updates. You might call these canned responses.

Oh, adding the person’s name to a canned response doesn’t make it any better.

“We are sorry to hear that.”

“Thank you for stopping in.”

“Sorry that you are having problems.”

“Thank you for your patience.”

Who said I’m patient?

Better responses are ones that specifically respond to the person’s questions, solve his or her problem or are unique.

We probably won’t share with anyone that a brand sent us a generic Tweet. But we might share a unique and interesting story like this:

During the 2012 Olympics, the NBC Olympics Twitter account tweeted a fact about beach volleyball. I asked a question. The NBC Olympics account didn’t reply but April Ross, one of the players, did.

Great to see somebody using social media this way.

social media april ross 1

social media april ross 2

I’ve been sharing this story for years now. She’s perhaps the only volleyball player I actually recall?

Would I become her advocate and share that a game is on TV? Probably. Would I cheer for her? Yup.

Would I do those things without that interaction having happened? Maybe. But now it’s different. It was a small and memorable experience.

Let’s talk about airlines. They get picked on frequently on social media, but they respond and actually try to help. It’s actually easier to get things done on social media rather than calling them.

The difficulty when speed and relevancy are expected is this for some (old school) organizations:

You cannot have a lengthy approval process.

Good luck crafting the perfect marketing message type response. Remember, that as soon as you send that “masterfully crafted” message the person can immediately ask another question. And then what?

The keys to live in this fast-moving digital world for organizations, brands, etc.:

Embrace transparency and participation

Know what you stand for! You can’t please everyone.

Have a point person (or team for larger organizations) who has the knowledge and authority to respond now.

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