Social media: the marketing that never sleeps
A recent Econsultancy blog had us thinking about how Social Media Marketing often requires round the clock attention, or at least for staff to be aware of anything that might go on outside working hours.
We have found this particularly true with many of our clients, namely the international hotel brands we have worked with such as Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo. Customers don’t just shut down their computers, phones or tablets at 5pm and stop talking, they continue to be active until the moment they go to sleep. And when your brand operates internationally it means that your target audience will be on different daily schedules, so if lunchtime is when your local audience is most active, there are going to be 40 lunchtimes in the 40 time zones during a 24 hour period.
With the aid of tools such as Hootsuite, Radian6 it’s relatively easy to schedule updates and messages to go out at different times, or even at a different time for each location, but it’s not possible to respond to contact if you’re not monitoring it. In projects we’ve worked on we’ve been lucky to have staff who don’t have a problem logging on at home or responding to tweets on their phones while lying in bed, we even trialled a tool called Brandwatch which could alert you when an individual with a particularly high ‘social influence’ made contact out of hours.
We’re are also no stranger to the odd PR crisis, when people get chatty online and they’re not in a good mood, their mood gets worse if you’re not there to chat back straight away. We’ve had to implement a round the clock social media management schedule at short notice, perhaps not to the scale KLM managed during the ash cloud, but enough to make us a bit flushed.
When a brand is international, it’s most often the case that their customers are too, this usually requires the use of multilingual community managers as well as native speaking ones, something that’s probably out of reach for many smaller agencies.
It’s sometimes disappointing to see large brands using social media as a channel for customer service, only to have the individual who manages it sign off at 5pm every night. If you have a 24 hour call centre, why not do the same for social media, it’ll probably save you the phone call!
Whether you’re an international brand or a local business, its up to the agency managing your social media to decide with you the best use of resources and have an appropriate, time-sensitive use of resources to help you achieve the best results and get the most out of social media as a marketing, commerce and customer service channel.