Conversation Doesn’t Take a Vacation

And how was your holiday yesterday? Did you enjoy BBQ and stare hypnotically into the shimmering lights of fireworks?

Holiday? What holiday? Yesterday was a holiday?

Yes. In the United States of America.

When one enters into the social sphere of Twitter or Facebook, geographic boundaries melt away. The news and conversation cycle is 24/7/365, though the company may not hold or be expected to keep such hours. If we want our companies to empathize and display human emotion, we are assuming the organization is comprised of humans with human expectations and a growing desire for work / life balance. It all comes down to expectations and how these needs and processes are communicated to and from the organization and the communities they serve.

I don’t advocate an organization being online 24/7, but I expect an organization to be listening 24/7 and escalating conversations with certain keywords or references throughout the company for appropriate response by the right person at the right time. The right time may be five minutes after posting or during the next business hour. Only your organization can determine and set that expectation inside the organization and to the community. This determination needs to be made before a crisis situation occurs. It can happen at all times, because while you may be on holiday, someone is sitting in front of their computer or using their smart phone to talk about your organization, product or services. The conversation never sleeps.

How should you be preparing?

  1. Don’t limit holiday thinking to those happening only in the United States. What communities does the organization serve and across what continents? What is considered and holiday and when do those holidays occur? People take time before and after a holiday. They are idle and are spending more time on their smart phones and computers. Is your company listening or there to respond to concerns and inquiries?
  2. If you automate content, be expected to be a part of the conversation in real-time.
  3. Establish an escalation grid. What types of conversations require an immediate or timely response? Does this response need to occur publicly or take place on another channel? Can the conversation wait until the next business day after a public acknowledgement of issue or inquiry? Who needs to see and hear the conversations playing out online?
  4. A process is only as effective as those people responsible for completing the necessary activities. During a holiday, it is is not just your community with extra time. Your workforce is enjoying time with their friends and family too. Align your escalation grid with a phone and email or social profile tree. When a response is required and legal or communications approval is needed, will you have the right people in the backchannel and front lines ready to pull the trigger?
  5. Communicate who is on point internally and externally. Your community managers do not need to sacrifice their lives to be online at all times.  Holidays should be treated no differently as weekend or after-hour time periods. Establish a rotation plan and include other members of your organization to check in and listen to the conversations and escalate as required throughout the day. Don’t forget to tell your community who will be listening and how to contact the organization during these times.

The conservation does not take a holiday. Be prepared and have a plan so you and your community can enjoy the time.

Share some tips about how you prepare your organization and community for vacation or a holiday.

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