reative Commons: yeah, i feel ya there, buddy by garann, on Flickr

Keys To Being Social: Respond


This post may be a bit controversial. If you do decide to burn my effigy, do it responsibly with a Fire Department truck on standby like Mythbusters.

Part of being a social person on social media is responding. [Crowd gasps, gathers stones.]

I know. This is crazy talk. Allow me to digress.

But first, let’s talk about manners.

I believe in responding with my whole heart. It ties into the Golden Rule (aka: basic manners).

When I’m teaching this, I usually ask,

“Would you do [insert online behavior here] in real life?”

Maybe you would.

If you fall under that category, then a refresher in universally accepted manners is in store for you.

Good manners are not about doing everything perfectly right, they are about being thoughtful and using common sense, about choosing civility over rudeness.” Jill Evans Kryston

Manners are Respect

We often say social media is about building relationships. How is that done?

It’s certainly not Sea Monkeys and it doesn’t mean that you have to go on vacation with your newest follower either. People seem to respond to me with extremes, so I wanted to clear that up.

But we can break it down to a demonstration of mutual respect. Ignoring someone does not show respect.

Manners take Time

“You had to spend time with [brands] to get to know them as people.” Ted Rubin with Bryan Kramer 

People often say, “That’s not scalable.” I think this is an excuse. When I see responses from Ted Rubin or Gary Vaynerchuk (though rarely, but it does happen), then you have time. Do you have 250,000 followers or over a million? Most likely, the people in my audience have under 5,000. You have time. Seriously.

Exhibit A:

Automation’s Pitfalls

We’ve covered this before. The danger in over-automating and not actually opening up said social media platform is the “set it and forget it” mentality. This means you’ve made a recipe or installed a plugin that automatically tweets/posts for you.

However, if your blog is auto posting to your Facebook Page and you don’t check notifications, a few things may happen:

1. People comment, you don’t respond, they think you’re rude.

2. People stop commenting.

3. People want your attention and/or the attention of others in their network so they’ll comment regardless.

The third group of people is who you end up having. Most normal people will stop commenting when they’re ignored.

A recent Guru Minute video, I discussed that an audience is a responsibility.

What’s a response?

What defines social is behavior, not an account on a “social platform.”

We talked about engagement in today’s #BufferChat and I really liked this answer from Christin Kardos:

The minimal response is a plus, like, favorite, or heart. I believe those verbs cover the basis of social platforms. It’s the equivalent of a wink or a wave across a crowded room. No further response is warranted. It could also mean, “I read your post.” This is the lowest level commitment of what I would consider a legitimate response. This behavior takes less than ten seconds.

A more generous response, especially if User X writes a well thought-out comment or sends a tweet, is to respond in kind. Humans are wired to mirror responses. I smile, you smile. I frown, you frown. This experience can be translated into the digital space.

I generally thank people for their time. “Thank you for taking the time to read and comment; I appreciate it.”

Additionally, I respond to the content in their comment by expanding on my thoughts. “I use favorites to bookmark my tweets to read later.”

It does take time, effort, and energy. But I believe you will treat your audience with the respect they deserve and they will honor you for it.

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