Slowing Down Social Media
How to survive—and thrive—in an always-on world
Posted: Dec 5, 2014
“Life moves pretty fast… if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
I grew up watching John Hughes movies, and that famous line from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was always one of my all-time favorites. Now the real irony is that in my job (and maybe yours), unfortunately, we don’t actually get a lot of time to take a day off or stop and take a look around. At least, it can feel that way.
There are certainly things we can do to let ourselves off the hook and slow down, but don’t expect the world around you to follow suit. It doesn’t care that our workday is over, or that it’s the weekend. No, nowadays, things are moving faster than ever, and getting information to the right people in a timely manner is getting more important by the day.
With that in mind, I thought it’d be good to try to outline some of ways you can help slow down the clock.
1. Use Listening and Monitoring Tools
There are often many different channels that we’re trying to track simultaneously, in real time. Signing up for a social media listening and monitoring tool is worth the investment because it can help you consolidate your feeds and streamline your social presence into one place. A social CRM tool can help you manage your channels, update you on new activity, and some advanced tools can even help you traffic posts so you can get an accurate response quickly.
More sophisticated social tracking tools often do require some sort of monthly fee, but there are a number of tools available for free or minimal costs that can help create some efficiencies.
2. Set reminders
Likely some of the struggle you face about staying on top of social is that you’ve got 9 other priorities, 4 meetings, and a town hall to prep. And that’s just before 3:00 p.m. Regardless of what’s on your plate, odds are those activities keep you away from your computer for some long stretches of time. One thing that may help you feel connected without sacrificing attention to other tasks is to set reminders throughout the day to check in. A calendar can often be a busy person’s best friend, so let it do the remembering for you.
3. Go mobile
When you’re on the go, think about using the breaks in between meetings or while waiting for a conference call to start to quickly check in on the latest. A quick scan can give you a chance to identify any issues, respond to easy questions, and traffic more complicated questions to others, if needed.
4. Implement good processes
When possible, try to routinize your social media plan. Generate a schedule for when you check in, set a standard around response time, identify who’s available to fill in when you’re unable to monitor social media (vacations do happen from time to time), and be clear about who has decision making authority on posting and on community responses. By having a clear process for managing your social presence, you can cut down on distracting opinions; work with the right people to get accurate, swift responses; and lean on others to help fill in while people are out of office.
5. Trust your instincts
One thing that makes people uneasy about acting in real-time is that you don’t get the benefit of rounds of review and revisions or delaying a response. People ask a question and the clock starts running. The longer you wait, the more likely they might be to think that you don’t care about their problem or the more it reinforces that it’s just government as usual.
Remember that demonstrating responsiveness on a consistent basis will build trust, and people will be more willing to overlook some things that need minor corrections. Most of the time, people are just looking for acknowledgment that you hear them and you understand their issue. Social media presents an opportunity to embrace and show a human side to your organization. If that means answering someone’s question with, “I don’t know. Let me find out.” That might, in fact, be the best answer at that moment. Trust your judgment and be willing to live in the moment.