Does Social Media Marketing Ever Sleep?

When it’s your job to be the brand ambassador or community manager for a company, is it ever OK to just tune out?

Last night, I had just started to drift off to Dreamland when I received a Facebook notification on my phone. Someone in the Bruce Clay, Inc. Facebook community asked a question.

Zipper sleeping

Half asleep, I quickly tried to reason what my next move was – laying my head back on the pillow or waking up to answer the question.

Last night, the pillow won. But, not without some feelings of guilt.

When you’re in charge of a community – especially a worldwide community – social media never sleeps.

This idea made me ponder the boundaries and expectations that community managers should establish for themselves, and how to strike a balance that still shows you care.

Being a Responsive Community Manager vs. Being a Prompt Community Manager

Is being responsive just as effective as being prompt?

Being responsive, to me, means you always address the needs of your community. If someone has a question, concern or perhaps just stopped by to leave a message, you’re sure to never let any potential interaction slip through the cracks.

In this case, you might decide that it makes most sense for you to have some sort of 24-hour rule, where you commit to responding to a person within a reasonable amount of time so it’s still fresh in their minds.

Now, being prompt is different. Being prompt means you respond and you respond right away. This can be a very impactful gesture. It shows you value that person so much, that you want to get back to them in real-time, as if you’re having a conversation.

And isn’t that really what social media tries to accomplish – a conversation between a company and its audience?

Social Media Marketing Is Not About the Dollar

Are you yelling at the screen right now? I suspect some of the ideas I’m about to talk about are just the thing that Dan Zarrella has in mind when he talks about the unicorn and rainbow approach to social media.

unicorn rainbow

Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, let me say that I understand it would be silly of me to dismiss the fact that social media efforts should and will directly affect the bottom line. But you know what helps drive that? Human interaction.

Social media is not just a marketing tactic. It’s about real people and real relationships.

And if you’re extra lucky, you’ll see how that directly affects the metrics part, like conversions and the bottom line.

But the real bottom line is, when you’re in charge of a community, you have to be passionate about the people. You have to take the brand and make it human. You have to show you care.

I sort of adopted our Facebook community a few months back. Since then, I’ve really started to fall in love with it and the opportunity it offers in cultivating and strengthening relationships between a brand and its people.

Nothing makes me happier in my efforts than when a member of our community reaches out to thank us for something we did, gives us a nod for helping another person out, contributes to the conversation or just stops by to let us know they’re listening.

Make no mistake, this is ROI.

Which brings me back to my incident last night. By turning over and going back to sleep, I had to reconcile whether or not I was turning my back on a member of our community or if I was simply “off the clock.”

As a social media marketer or community manager, there’s a certain responsibility to be available to the people in your community – many of whom might just be starting their work day on the other side of the globe while you’re half asleep.

But, I suppose you have to set reasonable expectations as well to strike a balance.

I did respond to our friend on Facebook, but well after I had woken up and taken care of some other things on my list of to-dos.

Could I have done better? Yes. As community managers, we can always push ourselves to provide that special touch to our members – on and off the clock.

So, now I want to open up the floor to you social media marketers. Do you set boundaries or are you available 24/7? (Assuming you sleep for at least a couple hours a night.) And what’s better, responsiveness in general or being as prompt as humanely possible? Or do you think all this unicorn and rainbow stuff is just nonsense?

Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below. And while you’re at it, join us on Facebook!

Jessica Lee is the founder and chief creative for bizbuzzcontent Inc., a marketing boutique that focuses on digital content strategy and professional writing services for businesses.

See Jessica's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (9)
Filed under: Social Media Marketing
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9 Replies to “Does Social Media Marketing Ever Sleep?”

According to a book called “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, Internet IS changing our mind.

The reason because today’s people are getting impatient and want everything instant is Internet. According to Nicholas Carr, if one is internet heavy user, he/she has hard time to read long paragraph or even finish one book.

For me, I do set boundaries. As you said, we are human, and human need to take rest, especially our brain. And brain work much more harder while we are sleeping to restore everything what we have use in day time. Your mental and physical need to take time to rest.

Hi, Kent — judging from some of your other comments, looks like you’re an avid reader!

I, myself, am not — which makes sense because I am a heavy Internet user and have no patience for those things called books with their lengthy paragraphs. I seriously don’t.

But guess what? This post was based on an interaction we had on the Bruce Clay, Inc. Facebook page! It was you who posted to our wall! So, thanks for the inspiration and for being understanding of my need for sleep. :)

Have to read, no choice. The world changes so fast until when I order book from UK or US. The information is outdated. That’s the reason why when I do marketing regardless offline and online, I focus on more human mindset and attitude, e.g neuromarketing. Human behaviour does change, but not change as fast as Google! hahahaha.

Anyway, take good rest, Jessica! :)

Ha Ha pushing the image of folks with their ‘panties in a bunch’ out of my head!

Seriously, boundaries are necessary, being effective is always better than just being prompt!

And few firms are factoring the fact that social media management goes well beyond 9 to 5 in the salary, but that’s a rant for another time… ;-)

Hi, Tracy! Intrigued — so you’ve heard community managers are paid more for being available ’round the clock? Thanks for your comment. :)

Gary Breininger

Great post Jessica.
I’m a long time and very passionate marketer, but I’m a human being first, and there’s one thing that’s for sure true – if we don’t take care of our health by doing things like being “on” 24/7 we’ll eventually get sick and then won’t be able to interact effectively with anyone.
We as a marketing community need to always keep this in mind when governing our own individual actions, and also setting expectations with others in our organizations and community.
This doesn’t mean not being responsive, it just means being responsive in a balanced and healthy way.

Hi, Gary,

Thanks for talking about setting boundaries.

The owner of a company I used to work for was an extremely busy man. If you reached out to him, he may not have been able to get back to you right away, but he had a rule: no matter how busy he was, he would always get back to you within 24 hours.

That always stuck in my head.

I think people expect that you are only human and are forgiving of a response that may come a little delayed. But, I wondered if the rules change in social media, where everything is real time.

Kudos Jessica. This an awesome post to expand on! Social media is such a powerful way to connect. I remember Sigmund Freud saying the most basic human need is the desire to be important. Social Media allows us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and by default, helps fulfill that basic human need. I try my best to always respond in a timely manner and normally do. Every so often it slips my mind but I never miss an opportunity to strengthen a relationship. You never know when or how something you say resonates with another. It can change someones perspective or brighten up a dreary day in a second. It has personified making a positive impact in other people’s lives in real time and as you so eloquently said-that’s real ROI. Thanks Jessica! :-)

This is true:

“You never know when or how something you say resonates with another. It can change someones perspective or brighten up a dreary day in a second.”

So many times, the smallest of gestures have a big impact. That’s what I love about it.

Thanks for sharing the way you approach social media.

Have a great one!


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