Yes, you have a twitter account. So what?

Wading through my Radian6 River of News from the weekend several questions come to mind.

First question: Why are you active in social media?

Most people agree it is important for a business to have (at minimum) a twitter account and facebook page. But why? Businesses should stake a claim on their brand name in social media, but then what? What do you plan on using those accounts for? If you are using it to listen, what are you doing with that information? Are you measuring sentiment? If so, what actions are you taking to increase positive sentiment and decrease negative? Are you looking for feedback regarding services/products? If so, are you implementing changes to meet your customers needs? Are you using it as a customer service channel? If so, that causes me to ask another set of questions:

Are you meeting your customers expectations? Do you even know what your customers expect?

As a customer, what do you think is a reasonable timeframe expectation for a business to answer a tweet? In my experience handling Customer Service via Social Media for the past two years, I’ve set a Service Level goal of 90%. In non-Call Center speak this means we aim to answer 90% of our customers tweets in under an hour from 7am to 9pm seven days a week, and never let more than 24 hours pass without a response. For some companies this is a difficult goal to attain; the influx of requests may be too great or they simply don’t have the resources to handle it. If the company allows more than 24 hours to pass, is your question even valid anymore? Have you already switched to a different channel to find the answer you’re looking for?

Do you expect a response every time? If you mention a company indirectly, do you expect a response at all?

If a business is active in Social Media, chances are they have keyword searches in place – Google Alerts, Twitter Search, Radian6, Spiral16, etc. In theory, those keyword searches should pull in both direct and indirect mentions. This means you see everyone who is talking about you and where they are talking. Now what?

Who is looking at this information? Who do you have in place to respond?

The following tweet showed up in my #tweetdiner search this morning and I agree with it whole heartedly:

@jaybaer: @brandsprouts Regardless of company size, social media should be led by the person/team with the most passion for it.

Regardless of what anyone believes, successfully managing social media for a business is a full time job. More accurately, it is a 24/7 job. The internet never sleeps and your customers rarely do. Is the person or people you have in place to respond to your customers knowledgeable about your products and services? Are they advocates of your company? Are they committed to answering your customers expediently, regardless of sentiment? You’ve empowered them to represent your company, do you trust them? A selfish question – if you have a passionate, knowledgeable advocate in place who has shown success in the past, why wouldn’t you listen to what they have to say?

Businesses – if you’re listening, why aren’t you responding?


About sarahkscoular

Sarah K. Scoular (@sarahkscoular on twitter) has 15 years customer service experience including face to face, over the phone and via digital interactions. Sarah is currently Enterprise Community Manager for uCern, the enterprise 2.0 social platform where Cerner Associates and Clients connect and collaborate. She ensures the 100,000+ member network is connecting people with others in similar roles or special interest groups, sharing information and finding answers to the questions they're looking for. Sarah helps others who are helping to revolutionize Health Care. Outside of work, Sarah is the wife of a graphic designer/laser engraver and the mother of seven-year-old Madeleine. She loves to cook clean, plant-strong foods and is a certified yoga and Les Mills BODYFLOW instructor.
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7 Responses to Yes, you have a twitter account. So what?

  1. Cat N Rat says:

    You are an amazing and intelligent woman.
    It is, and has always been, a pleasure working with you.

  2. Josh Davis says:

    Another really good read. Thanks Sarah.

    I am interested in your thoughts on how to institutionalize response. I imagine in your time doing social media, you have gone on vacation. How did you make sure that you maintained response and customer service standards when you were gone? Is it possible?

    It would seem like for larger brands/companies, you need to have multiple people who understands the tools and standards so that there is an overlap of knowledge. As important as social media is for many companies, it seems like it would be worth the time investment.

    • Thank you for the feedback Josh!

      As I’m somewhat of a control freak, I’ve always maintained contact with the team while away from the office. Smart phones help this quite a bit. However, I was lucky to have my fellow Supervisor Josh and Customer Experience Specialist Ryan, who were able to assist and respond in my absence. -Side note, both of these guys were recently promoted!- Both Josh and Ryan understood the need to respond quickly and accurately and treated twitter or facebook posts just as they would any other customer interaction.

      It is very important to have a strong team that understands policies, procedures and vision the company has for social media. It’s also very important that the company has policies, procedures and vision for social media that they’ve clearly conveyed to all parties involved. Without open communication and teamwork, any plan you have is doomed to fail.

  3. Dayngr says:

    Thanks for the mention!

    I have to agree with both you and Jay – if you’re working in this social media space then you absolutely have to be passionate about it and the work you’re doing.

    I use Twitter primarily, as a customer, when I have an urgent need that I need addressed pretty quickly. For me, an hour feels like a long time to wait in that space. After 24 hours, I’ve already moved on to a different channel to get resolution. Now that Facebook’s pages have better alerts in place, I suspect more customers will try to reach out there as well and expect faster response times too.

    Looking at things from the other side of the coin on the professional side, responding in under an hour seems like a pretty realistic goal. At Radian6 we have an entire team dedicated to listening, engaging, and responding in a timely manner. We strive to review tweets in about 10 minutes and respond accordingly.

    I think as more people embrace social media as mainstream vs. new, we’ll see a major shift in how companies handle their response times as well as who they have on the front lines as their first responders.

    Best wishes,
    Trish F. (@Dayngr)
    Community Manager | Radian6

  4. Eric Melin says:

    Hi Sarah-

    I am listening too, even though I am merely a one-man team! People always talk about how monitoring is an investment in time, and that’s true. Thing is, if I didn’t have the topic search running at all, I would never had known about this post. So it did save me time actually. This is a good lesson. Even if your listening platform finds a post right away, you’re only as fast to respond as your time will allow…ha!

    Thanks for the mention!

    Eric Melin @Spiral16

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