Use online reputation management to help you catch problems early, or risk walking into a full-blown crisis Monday morning
We applaud social media networks for allowing us to communicate with the public on a massive scale, but it’s critical to remember that while many businesses may close for the weekend, the average stakeholder’s online activity usually rises sharply during that same time.
Because of the 24/7 nature of social media, stakeholders expect a quick reply regardless of what time their query is sent. Even when long past normal business hours, you can bet that the expectation is half a day at most from question or complaint until response (and believe us, this is at the outside of many user’s tolerance).
Now, this isn’t to say that you’re obligated to fully resolve an issue in this time frame. The most important thing in online reputation management is acknowledging that you are listening and working on a solution. Simply replying with something like, “@whoever – We’re very sorry for your problem, and will message you the instant we have a solution,” will buy you enough time to, well, actually find a solution.
How can you stay on top of social media, even in your off-hours? It’s actually pretty easy and — especially important because budget is still a large obstacle to many organizations’ social media readiness — very inexpensive. Programs like HootSuite and TweetDeck offer free versions that allow you to track by keywords and set specific key influencers aside in their own “must read” categories. Their paid versions cost about as much as a lunch out monthly and are even more powerful, with full analytics and many other customizable options.
To catch those midnight social media crises as they erupt, both Facebook and Twitter actually have built-in SMS notification features, and services like TweetBeep will allow you to track from five to 200 keywords of your choosing, depending on need. Some organizations have set up a “Bat Phone” of sorts, a specific cell that constantly travels with the CEO or a member of the social media team and exists purely to detect a sudden explosion in activity on their various accounts. Others simply set up a schedule that includes weekend and at-home rotations to man and monitor social media.
The room for customization is almost endless, but the end result should be the same – you know exactly when a storm is brewing, and have the capacity to step in there and do something about it. Don’t be caught with your pants down when it comes to online reputation management, because social media doesn’t close for the weekend.
The BCM Blogging Team