5 Steps to Managing Social Media Replies & Comments (and Still Maintain Your Sanity)

Is this how you see your customer on Social Media? Might be time to set some boundaries.

Is this how you see your customer on Social Media? Might be time to set some boundaries.

If you run a social media team that functions 24/7 with clear assigned hours and coverage, this may not be useful to you. But if you're like most entrepreneurs (or "Youtrepreneurs"), you're often times a one-(wo)man-show when it comes to covering your Social Media Accounts.

Creating content is great. You can do it on your schedule... hopefully regularly and consistently. But what about responses and replies to your social media posts? Are you setting proper boundaries? Not just for you, but for your audience/customers? Here's a point which may run counter to your immediate way of thinking...

It's better to wait a couple hours to respond to social media mentions/replies/comments. Be responsive but manage expectations. Unless you can ALWAYS respond in 30 seconds, don't EVER respond in 30 seconds.

Sure, you might bristle at the thought of this. We get it. It seems that if you can prove to your client-base that you respond within 30 seconds, they will come to trust you. And guess what, they WILL!

But... then they expect that response level every time. And lord-forbid you be in the middle of Jurassic Park 19 when that tweet or comment comes in because you're either going to have to be that jerk who pulls out his phone in the movie theater... or you're going to irritate the customer because you didn't respond in 30 seconds. 

Not to mention that your always-on-call burn-out rate will skyrocket. No one wants this. 

We've managed our Twitter accounts for businesses since 2008. And we've learned a couple things that will leave you with a good social-media reputation and still maintain your sanity in the process. Here's how to execute it:

1) Turn off Notifications on your Phone for ALL social networks - Even if you provide support services via social networks, it's understood by most customers that during the business day, waiting a few hours for a response is acceptable. PS - We're going to write a blog post devoted to the evils of mobile notifications one day. Stick around, we could all be better about this topic.

2) Check your Social Media Regularly. (But not too regularly) - We maintain a schedule of checking every 2-3 hours during the business day. And will then devote 15-20 minutes to respond to posts, replies, comments, etc. Make no mistake, we're not advocating being unresponsive. Just not at their beck and call. 

3) Do NOT respond to customer posts after-hours - Obviously, this doesn't work for businesses that function 24/7. But for most of us, we have an "end to our day". If you don't, you've got bigger problems than how to manage social networks. But once you set a precedent of doing this, you'll have to keep it up. 

4) Don't be afraid of the "We've got your message, we'll be in touch" post - Often, a customer just wants to know they've been heard. Replying that you're aware of their post and will offer a more detailed reply in the coming hours/days is enough to keep someone happy. Just make sure you get back to them, or you'll lose all trust with them.

5) Take the Conversation Out of the Public Eye - This is standard practice, especially with an irate customer. Do your best to channel the conversation into a DM thread or offer them an email address. This is a pretty obvious idea to avoid a public fiasco, but this tactic can also buy you time showing them you're responsive. Pro Tip: You then need to make sure you don't dip them into a DM and then never respond. (See: MoviePass).

BASIC RULE: Don't' engage in any social media response activity you won't be able to keep up for the long haul. Remember... running your show is a marathon, not a sprint. You can't get into a behavior that will leave you exhausted and resentful of the customer over time. 

By protecting your own sanity, you will be in a much better place to provide great social media responses to the customer and leave them much happier in the long run.