Is a real-time response the best idea for brands?

You’re not required to give an immediate response, but you are required to give an accurate one. So when is it appropriate to use social media in real time?

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True, social has changed some aspects of marketing and communication, adding tools to communicate with and engage audiences. But is interacting via social networks in real time always what’s best for your brand?

Two examples of real-time communication’s potential for harming your business or personal brand:

These are examples of the reason not everyone should have a real-time platform for random streams of consciousness. Organizations and individuals spend a great deal of time, money, and effort building a brand. It can take years to develop a personal or company brand, yet social networks give us a way to eviscerate a brand as fast as you can press “Send.” This occurs when a brand had no communication plan—or when people lack discipline to stick to the plan.

If you are doing social media right, little of your communication is in real time. Your communication should be the culmination of careful strategy and planning. If you are doing it right, you have completed an extensive exercise in developing a social media strategy, channel mapping, implementation plans, an editorial calendar, roles and responsibilities, policies and guidelines, and a scorecard for tracking results. That doesn’t feel very “real time” to me.

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