It’s been quite a winter here at Vasil Media Group World HQ in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and it’s not over yet. (that darn groundhog!)
This week we had back-to-back storms. One gave us a significant snowfall and it was followed by an ice storm. A lot of friends and neighbors lost power and heat, trees are down across roads and on roofs, traffic lights are out..its a mess. Plus some utility companies say it will take them 5 days to get things back to normal. Yikes!
One thing I noticed online was several local businesses had posts, tweets, etc. that were clearly loaded up and scheduled in an automated system before the storms hit. To be sure, social media management systems like HootSuite, Sprout Social and others are great tools for implementing your social media strategy and terrific time-savers, but I always recommend you use them lightly and intersperse a few relevant human comments, shares, etc., among these pre-designed posts, based on what's happening in real time day-to-day.
The automated posts caught my attention because I know these FB pages, twitter accounts, etc. are for businesses affectedc by these storms and their posts were so out of touch and frankly, in this weather emergency, irrelevant. (most were in the "buy my stuff" category). Now to be fair, maybe there was no one around who was authorized to add any fresh messages or the person with the passwords had no power.
Still, here's my tip: designate a couple people who can post from where ever they are to keep your business online content "real" and up-to-date. In a crisis, put the scheduled posts on hold or add some light-hearted comments. The posts don't have to be big, fact-laden entries.
Perhaps a few posts here and there could say something like "Bad weather is keeping us out of the office today. Enjoy our regularly scheduled tips and tricks until we return." or "We can't get into the office today and are off to make a snowman. But expect our usual great (photos, stories, quotes, recipes, whatever you usually post) to continue until we get back to work."
I know the Internet is global and not everyone is experiencing the same weather situation you are, but social is social. It's people talking with people, not robots and even if you use a scheduling tool, you want to maintain that perception.
It's not the end of the world that these companies dropped the ball though it may hurt their credibility a bit in the eyes of local patrons. Just know it's possible with a little ingenuity and pre-planning, to sprinkle some personal perspectives amid the scheduled posts to give your business a human voice.
Thoughts? Please leave a comment.