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?