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Social Media is an interactive tool, whatever platform you choose to use and consequently success using social media can depend on how quickly you respond to the people who are trying to interact with you. Responding quickly shows your followers that your business is present, listening and that they value the people trying to engage with them. Failing to respond on social media is like going to a party, sitting next to someone and asking them a question and being ignored. If the interaction is too late it doesn’t make sense and the moment to connect has passed. There is no point responding to a comment or question left a week ago. The conversation is probably not now relevant to its asker.

Of course it’s difficult to answer right away. How many of us have the time or the staff to sit by our phone or computer waiting for a question or a mention of your business on social media, so that you can answer the second after receiving it?  If you don’t have the time or resources to respond quickly, then it’s a good idea to let people know how quickly you are likely to reply. If you can only reply between certain times, let your followers know. I they know that you will only reply during business hours say, between 9am & 5pm, and they leave a message at 8pm, then your follower will not expect a reply until the next day. Should you be aware of the message before start of business the next day, and you reply, then your follower will probably be impressed that you’ve taken the time to do so. Some businesses make it known that they will respond to messages and questions within a certain time frame, i.e. with 3 hours, 4 hours etc. Still great information to your follower. However, the timelier your interaction with your follower or potential customer, the more social your account becomes and in turn you will find you will get more followers and engagement as a result.

Social Media is about making conversations with people. Make sure you keep the conversation going. If you’re unable to do this yourself there are some great monitoring websites such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, that will notify you when someone mentions you or your business.

Now, if you’re a large business like Nike, Asda, Adidas and the like, who you trust to reply to messages or comments on your business Social Media accounts, can be scary especially if your company is used to dealing with their communication via a multi layered approval system. Letting staff have a free reign is not always a good idea.  Common sense needs to prevail here. Instruct your staff to act on your behalf who are not only experienced in social media skills, which is nearly everyone these days, but is also someone who has experience in communicating with customers on behalf of your business. For smaller businesses or one-man band businesses this is irrelevant, there probably isn’t a ‘red tape’ system in force. Whoever you choose to answer questions or comments posted on your business social media platforms, make sure that they are aware if your timescales for replying.

Communication is the key to building business relationships and your business profile. Whether it’s you or a staff member doing the replying, make sure it’s done in a timely fashion.

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