The “secret sauce” of social engagement is response time. For all the talk about storytelling, content marketing and “humanizing brands” — it’s not nearly as effective if the brand can’t participate in real-time dialogue. In the physical world, Person A talks, Person B listens and (basically) immediately responds. Imagine how forced, awkward and cringeworthy a conversation would be if hours lagged between each piece of the dialogue.
In an informal study of social media response times, Forbes columnist Curtis Silver wanted to see how brands would respond to a simple, positive tweet. From May 7th-July 3rd, 2015 he sent 959 tweets to brands reading “I love you [brand Twitter handle] #brandlove.” Some brands responded right away, while others took hours and hours.
If it takes hours to respond to that simple of a tweet, imagine the lag when it’s a more complicated topic or exchange.
At Geben, we manage social media for a wide range of companies, from FORTUNE 100 retailers … to a top marathon and a local brewery. As I shared in the Forbes article:
We’ve worked with our clients’ legal times to pre-determine what needs legal approval and what doesn’t. This clear expectation means we’re able to respond much quicker than many other brands.
We also staff our accounts to provide community management beyond the standard office hours. For example, one of our clients has four people who take shifts as ‘primary community manager.’ Having one person always on as the community manages also makes it a lot easier for us to respond so quickly. For example, we have one client where conversation volume is highest during standard business hours. So, we’re ‘always on’ from 8am – 5pm and checking at least once an hour from 5pm – 10pm. But, we have another big retailer that is more lifestyle focused, so the volume of conversations and engagement opportunities are higher at night and on weekend, so our team staggers their work day to ensure someone is available to quickly respond during those ‘off’ hours.
Head over to Forbes.com to see the full article and data from this experiment.