The Dangers of Not Manning Social Media 24/7

This weekend saw a customer complaint go from being an issue for the company and that individual to a full blown PR issue thanks to Facebook.

The incident started on Saturday after one of our armed forces personnel had to change his plans due to his dates for service being altered.  This meant he had to cancel his holiday, which he managed to do with the airline but not the holiday company.

Lastminute.com decided to take another stance as officially he was not entitled to a refund (was stated in the T&C’s).  This issue made it onto the company Facebook Page with people siding with the soldier and ‘liking’ the page so that they could make their point.  It did turn into a bit of witch hunt or as one person put it ‘like reading the Daily Mail’.

The issue and relevance to all of us who work in Social Media and especially Community Managers, is that this kicked off on weekend and no-one was available sort out until this morning (Monday).  By which time much of the damage had been done.

The issue has now happily been sorted out and some confidence has been restored but if there had been someone on hand to check Facebook over the weekend then would this have got so out of control?  I doubt it.

For any clubs or businesses this has to be a wakeup call when it comes to who and when these pages are monitored.  We can’t rely on one person working 9-5 from Monday to Friday as what happens when something like this falls outside of that? And it is unfair to ask that person to be there 24/7 365 days a year.

This is where proper planning and investment is required, it is all very well building up your community but it has to be looked after.  Maybe you have 2 or 3 people working in shifts or one main community manager but others who help check the page to flag up any issues.

Not only is this needed for weekends but what happens when your community manager goes on holiday, what then?  Social Media cannot be a one-man effort and is something I became acutely aware of during my time working with adidas.  This is both a community management and PR issue (how do you escalate and deal with issues) which need planning for and taking into consideration as you need to be pro-active rather than re-active.

What does your club or business do outside of normal working hours….. do you have a plan?

About author

Daniel McLaren
Daniel McLaren 625 posts

Dan launched Digital Sport back in 2010 as one of the first social media & sport blogs and is Founder & Managing Director of social video agency CASTdigital. Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter (@danielmclaren)

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9 Comments

  1. Brad
    January 12, 22:35 Reply
    I pretty much manage our brand's social media channels 90 percent of the time. I don't go more than a few hours without glancing at our page, thanks to being able to moderate via mobile devices. Hyper Alerts are also very invaluable to make sure nothing slips through the cracks
    • Dan (UKSN)
      January 15, 12:36 Reply
      Thanks Brad. It is almost a 24/7 occupation these days and hard for one person to run on their own, especially with the needs for holidays, etc. The use of mobile devices to keep an eye on the lastest developments is crucial and can get away from the laptop when needed. Do you also have a 'crisis plan' if anything does happen that needs resolving?
  2. Mike Tron
    August 17, 05:06 Reply
    I am a digital marketing coordinator for a sports equipment company in the States. I am the only one who monitors our FB page and I do so on a 24/7 basis. The longest I will go is 8-12 hours when I am sleeping. And if I can't truly answer a question until Monday I am very clear about the fact that I won't be able to help until I am back in the office. A quick response, ANY response, is important.
    • Dan McLaren (UKSN)
      August 17, 12:22 Reply
      Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Mike. It is tough for one person do run a companies social media efforts, especially large ones, and yes a response quickly is key. As you say, if you cannot answer a question until back at your desk then as long as they know that they are usually very reasonable people who are not expecting super human efforts in return....just a response to their query.
  3. jeffthedeaf
    August 15, 14:25 Reply
    A much more efficient system would be to put in place alerts if there is an increase in activity on a Facebook or Twitter page which could then alert the relevant person. Employing 2 or 3 people to man social media presence for 24 hours is hugely inefficient - I can't imagine Lastminute got this kind of traffic on their page usually so how could you justify that?
    • Dan McLaren (UKSN)
      August 16, 08:44 Reply
      Thanks for the comment Jeff. Alerts is a good way but by then something has already happened. I'm not saying you employ 3 people to run your communities.... from being a one man band on a community I know it can be long hours and a lot of work. What does help is having others who are also keeping an eye out because it is not possible for one person if it is a big community. If Lastminute had one or two others who kept their eye on things out of work then it could have been flagged earlier and the person running the account then informed and can answer it. If they were away then have someone else with access who could answer. It is about delegating ytasks rather than leaving all up to one person.
  4. James Mayes
    August 15, 12:42 Reply
    Borrowed your image to look at the role of community manager. Link comes back yo your full article. Please let me know if you're unhappy and I'll source an alternate image. Thanks! <a href="http://jmay.es/pe40QJ" rel="nofollow">http://jmay.es/pe40QJ</a>

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