Why Brands Need to Monitor Social Media 24/7

source: http://bit.ly/1sqjdt1

For brands, a social media presence is a necessity these days. From providing services to selling merchandise to connecting customers across platforms, social media has become an indispensable part of the modern business landscape. For customers, this also means that brands seem available to answer urgent demands or questions at all times.

In dealing with a never-ending stream of incoming messages from social feeds across various platforms, a social manager has to ask, “At what point in the day can I log off? Can we afford to have a customer care team that ever goes offline?”

The easy answer is, “no.” But realistically, limited resources make things less simple than that. Here are three factors to weigh when thinking about handling a 24/7 social media feed:

1. The Customer

Businesses dealing with the general public get customer inquiries at all hours, including outside of the traditional working day. Whenever the customer chooses to interact, that time becomes a working hour; the community manager needs someone to be there with them. If a business operates internationally? Forget about “normal business hours” – it’s always 9 to 5 somewhere.

The chart below illustrates the average activity of social media users for each day of the week and time of day. Notice the importance of evenings.

Not sure who, and where, your clients are, or why they keep bombarding you with questions at 4 in the morning? Then it’s time to get your social media team an analytics tool, and a publishing tool to deal with that bombardment.

2. The Purpose

Effective social media strategies are based in setting goals and defining why you operate on a certain network – the days of checking the box for simply “being on Twitter” are gone. In their stead is a future defined by deep, metrics-based campaign and support management.

From sales to support, the volume of incoming queries can become overwhelming. Creating separate accounts for “support” and “company news” is one viable, oft-practiced solution. This is a good way to easily filter out customer needs and requests from other, less timely matters.

Whatever the end game, it is crucial to have someone available to answer questions or comments, particularly after new content goes live.

3. 99 Problems, but No Idea of the Scale

Nobody likes a hater. Unluckily for social media managers, cyberspace is full of them. High-stress or otherwise complicated market segments like airline tickets or mobile service tend to exacerbate the chances of “social suicide” – that moment when the “post” button becomes the enemy. Monitoring the feed at all times gives your company the time to craft an appropriate, yet still timely response. Unmonitored feeds present dual risk – not only can crises go unnoticed for too long, but little problems can grow into serious ones. If no one is watching , then no one can be wise to the lurking social risks.

Unfortunately, many brands have not yet learned that lesson. Our data on average Question Response Times (QRT) suggests that users are often forced to wait nearly twice as long for responses during evenings and weekends as they do during normal working hours – from an average of four hours to about seven.

Remember:

The Internet never sleeps. Logging off, shutting down, and unplugging can leave global brands blind to the needs of customers and prospects outside of their own region, or night owls nearby. The most urgent messages may be those left sitting in a closed inbox.

For the sake of both managing risk and impressing prospective and current customers, brands must monitor social feeds all day, every day. It can be done! At our upcoming Engage London 2014 conference, KLM’s Social Media Hub Manager Robertjan Groeneveld will be speaking about how and why his company manages to always be there for customers. If you still think your brand can get away with providing social customer care only when it seems convenient, his talk will be enlightening – and maybe a bit scary.

This post was originally appeared on http://bit.ly/1lF52w8 via @socialbakers

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