The short answer is…yes.
Social media is a fast-paced world; content becomes irrelevant faster than ever before. It’s vital to engage as quickly as possible, because that is what is expected.
Engagement is a word you will find all over the social media world, it really is what it’s all about! Be wary of the expectations you generate amongst your followers — setting up false expectations of engagement can sour your online reputation.
So, how are you going to engage?
First, determine when you’ll be engaging, what types of messages and conversations you’d like to engage in and who is going to be doing it. This should be laid out nicely in your social media policy. Here’s a sweet list of social media policies to gather language and structure ideas.
Social media is 24/7, 365 days a year
The ideal situation is to have the individual(s) driving your social networks to monitor constantly. This can be done efficiently with effective search tactics, a social hub such as Hootsuite and mobile devices. Here’s a great post to make monitoring simpler and more effective. Reality is, some health units do not have the luxury of monitoring the networks all day and night. In this case, it is crucial to have a disclaimer (here’s an example) on your social media sites that explains your accounts are not monitored after hours.
Responding to messages between Monday and Friday, 8-4:30 should be responded to almost immediately. However, what you do after hours, weekends and holidays can define the success of your networks. This is because, if engagement is happening in a timely manner throughout business hours, this will create an expectation to your followers that you may not be able to meet outside of office hours.
Remember, engagement isn’t just responding to messages. Be pro-active, it will assist in increasing the visibility of your networks as well as your followership. Pro-active engagement goes hand in hand with effective monitoring. This will allow you to jump into pertinent conversations in a timely fashion. You want to be there when people are talking about topics that you have expertise in. This approach will gain the respect of social users as well as increase the intake of messages sent to your accounts.