Social Media Interaction: How Responsive Should You Be?

By on April 21, 2011

We are often asked about social media interaction – and if it’s possible to be too responsive. How can you be too responsive, you ask? Of course you can! Like any social interaction, there is such a thing as too much conversation.

But it depends on the platform, the type of conversation and the responses, from your responses. Imagine sitting down with a friend and continually talking about one single topic for 24 hours.

That friend is not likely to see you again any time soon! So, here are some great tips on how responsive you should be on each of your platforms.

1. Facebook Responses

Facebook is a social network, which means that any and all response is probably a good thing. Plus because of the way it’s set up, comments are neatly categorized and don’t bother your entire community – they simply address the person or business you are responding too. Not taking the time to read and respond to your community on Facebook can do more harm than good.

Having said that, Facebook – like most social networks – is no place to send 1000 word comments on someone’s opinion. If you ever need to speak to someone like this to address a problem, use email or better – a chat service.

It’s also a good idea to keep any conflict off your pages, which may result in long comments. Keeping the conversation going on Facebook means that you, or your social media manager will have to respond as often as they can to your community.

2. Twitter Responses

You’ll probably have an auto-tweet service like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite that will periodically send informative tweets to your community on a daily basis. This could result in you checking in on the platform and finding that 134 people responded to a tweet, or to different tweets throughout the day.

What do you do? Well, what you don’t do is fire them all off at once. When people see that you’ve sent 30 tweets in an hour, and ruined their timeline – they might unfollow you.

The best thing to do here, is to create your responses and schedule them to be published at various intervals. Take into account that you already have tweets lined up, and work around them.

Addressing individuals can also be done in the message system on Twitter. This is useful if they’ve asked or commented on something specific. If many similar questions are raised, publish a blog about it – and then tweet the link. Whatever you do, do not send a huge amount of tweets off at once. People don’t like it.

3. LinkedIn Responses

When you get an inbox message on LinkedIn, always respond – even if it’s just to thank someone for telling you what a great job you’re doing. As a group participant, it’s also important to respond when people talk to you directly. But use your discretion here – sometimes people will talk to you for no particular reason.

If it doesn’t really make sense, or feel sincere, then don’t respond. This applies to all contact on social media sites. If someone’s spambot is citing your name for ‘fake’ interaction, no response is needed.

Remember that social media sites use very short forms of communication. For more, don’t be afraid to use your blog, that’s part of why it exists. Base the amount of responses on the size of each of your communities.

Sometimes it’s just not possible to answer everyone. Be imaginative, and come up with creative ways to let your community know you’re still listening.

How often do you respond to people on your social media pages? Please tell us!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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