One of my favorite and least favorite things about social media is that it's active 24/7. While you can check creating content off your to-do list, you're never really done when it comes to social. Because social media is constantly changing, it is crucial that every social media pro and brand can adapt. Luckily, there are a few tools and practices you can use to keep social media from burying you alive.
By it's nature, social media is social. That means, if you're doing it right, people are engaging with you. You don't want to wait too long to respond or the moment will pass and the conversation will end before it even began. People like a response when they engage with you on social media, especially if they are raising concerns about an issue. Social has increasingly become an outlet for customer service concerns. In fact, 72% of those raising customer service complaints or asking questions through Twitter expect a brand to respond to them within just one hour. Obviously, it is practically impossible to get to every complaint in that time frame, but you should get to every complaint and help every customer. But just remember: don't feed the trolls.
In order to ensure you are getting all the relevant notifications of customer engagement, make sure you have native access to your channels. I find the native notifications are far easier to manage than using software. I also recommend using the Facebook Pages app if you monitor multiple pages. It groups notifications by page instead of chronologically as the regular Facebook app does. Another way to see notifications is to have them sent to your email, however, this may be too cumbersome if you manage multiple brands or if you receive a large amount of notifications daily.
It isn't just engagement you have to monitor in real-time, you must also keep an eye on trends. Topics can trend within minutes on social media. Whether it is a "holiday" like #NationalSiblingDay or a pop culture phenomena like #PizzaRat, trends relevant to your brand can pop up out of nowhere. If you aren't following trends, you won't be able to capitalize on them. While some trends like #WorldVegetarianDay can be anticipated, others like #ReasonsILoveFall can appear at anytime and if you miss them, you've lost thousands of potential impressions. It isn't just hashtags that trend, phrases and people's names like "Fanastic Four" or "Taylor Swift" can too.
While it may seem daunting to follow local, national, and international trends, there is help out there. Natively, many major platforms (i.e.: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+) show you what is trending on their sites. For overall trends, Google Trends can come in handy. What articles are trending on a pop culture news site like Buzzfeed can also indicate what terms and topics are popular. Buzzfeed even tracks which articles are hot. Some social management platforms will also give you a heads up on trending topics. You may not be able to catch every trend or they may not be relevant to you, but by checking once or twice a day you can at least be aware of what the world talking about.
Like trends, current events can shape the social media conversation. People trend because they are doing something newsworthy. Events, both planned and unplanned, trend for that same reason. Things that are going on in the world affect the news. Knowing what is happening locally and globally can help you from making big faux pas. If you have a national presence and tweet about great weather, it may not be appreciated by those getting hit by tornadoes or other bad weather across the country. It could be seen as insensitive to tweet about "Incredible Locations to Visit in Blank Country" if that country is plagued by disease or unrest at the moment. If you utilize post scheduling, not realizing a scheduled post will clash with news could end in a PR disaster.
Social media is also shaping the way we get news. 63% of Facebook and Twitter account holders use the platforms to learn about current events. Because of this, trends are a good way to follow major news stories. Following both local and international news outlets on social media can help you stay up-to-date.. CNN Breaking News alerts sends breaking news to your inbox. Another great solution in your inbox is The Skimm. The Skimm is a subscription service that sends an email every weekday morning (around 6am) with important national and international news stories that focus on politics, pop culture, and other major (or under-served) topics. It takes only a few minutes to read and The Skimm links to additional information for those who want to read more.
Keeping track of engagement, trends, and current events not only helps you create social content, but helps your brands appear relevant and intelligent. Monitoring these three elements can help avoid issues of insensitivity and keep brand or social media professionals from being overwhelmed by all of the social media content out there. Social media never slows down, but that doesn't mean, with these tips, you can't.
What tools do you find useful for staying on top of social media. Leave a comment here or send me a tweet.