Best efforts as a best practice

This entry was posted by on Friday, 10 May, 2013 at

IMG_5607Social Business permeates our daily lives now. You can’t ignore it. Whether it is a FourSquare check-in, Yelp review, or Facebook/Twitter/Google+ post, if you are playing online you can’t avoid the fact that businesses are engaged.

There are countless examples of how businesses have done the right thing or the wrong thing in some social channel and all the acclaim or shame as a result, but I want to discuss here are the businesses that DON’T go viral with the right thing, but continually DO the right thing day in and day out. The right thing they are doing? Their best effort.

What do I mean by this though? Isn’t a best effort failing when other businesses are going viral? here I say no. There are two kinds of social businesses: the ones who are trying to be rock stars and gain the largest following they can, and then there’s everyone else: those businesses which day in and day out provide not only information, but true social engagement through responsive posting. This means listening to their audiences, keeping the pulse of their own channels under their thumb, and knowing what the right kind of response to mentions or comments will be.

In social business, responsiveness and attentiveness are critical. Knowing how, or even if you need to reply is a bit of black magic and most certainly an art form in itself. But, what I have found is that most people just want a response even if you can’t provide a comprehensive answer. This is what I mean by best effort. Sometimes it is enough to simply say: “Hey I saw your post and am working to find more information for you”…. so long as you do actually follow-up again later. Best effort could even mean doing a few quick searches to find some links which may help the commenter/poster.

So what IS the right thing?

  • Be responsive, even if you don’t have the answer.
  • Be personable and human
  • Provide your best effort.

By way of example…

I was recently delighted when a large corporation replied back to one of my own posts, not only with some personable words of encouragement, but with a link they thought I may benefit from… and they did this all within 5 posts between us in the course of under 30 minutes. Was my direct issue met with a 100% solution, no. What I got was a personal touch point that made it known I was heard. THAT, my friends, is best effort and responsiveness defined. And that is what a social business is.

No one has all the answers all the time, pretending otherwise is silly and your audience will see right through it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help people even though you don’t have the right answer, sometimes just a response is all the answer a person needs.

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