Yesterday I was part of a brief twitter conversation talking about brands that do twitter well – @telstra, @qantas, @virginamerica, @auspost were all mentioned.
And by “doing well” I mean they respond to their customers. Via twitter. When their customers reach out to them. It’s not all about advertising their wares (although there is some of that, and THAT IS OK). It’s mainly about building relationships and providing customer service excellence. Something twitter is excellent at facilitating.
One of my favourite brand interactions is one I had with @QueenslandRail AGES ago. They asked me if I wanted someone to bring me tissues when I tweeted that I was crying on the train while reading a sad book – what made it particularly special is that I didn’t tag them in my tweet, they just saw it and replied. And BTW, @charlotteshucks is now @charlottewoodau if you want to follow her, and Love & Hunger is a freaking awesome book. Even if I did cry on p175.
Now I’m not saying that you need to have someone managing your twitter account 24/7. Far from it. But if you are a business with customers who like to talk to you via twitter, and this is becoming more and more common for both big and small businesses, then you need have more than a minimal presence.
I’ve been reminded me of another twitter chat I was tweavesdropping on a while ago. One of my followers was tweeting a popular shopping precinct to complain about their lack of response to one of his questions asked via twitter a day or two ago. Their response:
apologies for not responding sooner, our social media accounts are managed from 9:30am – 1:30pm Wed-Fri only 🙂
Um, what? Your shopping and dining precinct is open from at least 7.30am until 9pm most days, yet you only have social media management for 12 hours a week. And not, I presume, during the peak usage periods.
I’m going to assume this is a budget issue. And I totally get it. BUT if you are in a business, particularly a bigger business that has a lot of customers, and you have part time social media, please, no, pretty please, make that clear in your social media profiles.
Like @myer, @qantas and @vodafoneau do.
However you do also need to be aware that monitoring social media needs to occur every day. Ideally you will have someone monitoring your social media while your business is, you know, open for business. Just like you have someone managing your phone lines while your business is open for business. And like you reply to your emails while you are open for business. So if you only manage your social media part time, expect criticism and complaint. Because your customers are going to want to talk to you 24/7/365. Make that 366 days this year.
Social media operates in real time and people expect responses immediately. It’s the new way of the communication. Actually, it’s not all that new. It’s been around a while. Twitter turns ten this year.
If it is a budget issue and you can only afford to have someone monitoring your social media for, say, 12 hours a week, then spread those 12 hours over the whole week. Such as two hours a day Monday – Friday and one hour each on Saturday and Sunday. And maybe in 15 minute chunks.
With mobile technology being, well, mobile, social media monitoring can happen anywhere. Not just sitting at a desk in an office.
Think about it. Please.