Have you ever gone to a party and scanned the room for people you know? You zoom in on your targets, then approach and try to organically pop into the conversation. After a few seconds of overhearing the conversation, you realize that it was the completely wrong time to join in. Your happy face just interrupted a deep discussion about someone’s family members recent cancer diagnosis. Gah.
Two things with social that I see all the time from both individuals and small businesses:
- Poor timing: This includes not responding in a timely manner (an expectation of “timely” is set by your customer), not engaging while your customer is online (instead, only when it is convenient for you to do so), and not posting content when your customers are most likely to see it.
- Improper context: This one stretches the gamut of possible oopsies, from misappropriate use of a hashtag to reacting in haste to a negative post without reading the entire background. This causes major foot-in-mouth syndrome.
To fix poor timing:
- Think about when people are using your product or when they need you. I had an experience with Verizon Wireless this week where I had no email service and it seemed to be a widespread problem. Unfortunately, when the social media team clocked out, all the in-progress help they were giving users went with it.
- You can utilize services like Crowdbooster so you can see when your followers are most active so your tweets have the most potential for impact.
- You can also just observe when your followers seem to be most active. When are they responding to your blog or to your Facebook posts? You can also look at research like that in the infographic below from Argyle Social.
To fix improper context:
- Listen before you pipe in. If you see your name come up, make sure you read the conversation participants past tweets so you can reply with proper context.
- If you’re unsure of context, just ask. A short “is there something I can help you with?” goes a long way.