Is social media a "more than full time" job?

Richard Meyer posted an article last week outlining why he believes that, yes, social media is a more than full-time job. The core of his argument is: an age of instant gratification, customers want to know you’re listening –and that you have an answer. In fact, 81% of consumers using social media say it’s important for businesses to respond to questions and complaints and within a reasonable amount of time. Of course reasonable amount of time is defined by consumers not you.
I agree completely.

One of our clients recently started a social media campaign. After identifying top-level and network-specific goals, we categorized each network as either:
  1. Response required within 24 hours, or
  2. Response required within 15 minutes.
This company has a very technical product, meaning many of the comments will probably require technical answers. Since we want to distribute the social media responsibility, rather than dump it all on one very busy International Sales Manager, identifying the response window also helped us determine who in the company needed to monitor each network:
  1. This network should be monitored by someone with sufficient technical knowledge to respond directly to customer questions and complaints, or
  2. This network can be monitored by a traffic director, who can immediately reply with, "Thank you for your question; I'll have someone contact you!" and forward it to the proper person.
The result was a simple four-square chart that helped us delegate responsibility to the best person for each network. We also were able to identify only one network that our client needed to personally monitor via smartphone, with push notifications turned on.

Social media does not close after business hours, or for weekends or holidays. It does not need to rule your life, though. A well-structured plan ensures timely replies without consuming your schedule.