Does Social Media Monitoring Need to be 24/7?

We live in a world that never sleeps. On days when I need to drive someone to the airport for an early-morning flight, the highway is teeming with traffic, which makes me ask: “Who are these people and where they going?”

Within the social media world, the same kind of frenetic 24/7 activity is alive and well. People are blogging, tweeting, updating and uploading at all hours of the day and night. You fire up Twitter in the morning to discover that someone who lives in your city has been happily tweeting away at 3 a.m.

One of the strange offshoots of this non-stop activity is that it’s being monitored on a 24/7 basis. It is not unusual for someone to receive a response from a company to a tweet or blog post at any time of the day or time, often within minutes of something being posted.

While there are companies with social media teams that monitor activity, in many cases social media monitoring is being done by one person. This can only mean they are monitoring social media activity pretty much all the time.

It raises the question about whether this is a healthy or necessary thing. Is it really necessary to monitor and respond to social media activity on a 24/7 basis?

Sure, we live in an instant-gratification world but does that mean that social media never sleeps? Is it possible to respond to someone in a few hours rather than a few minutes. Will the world end if a tweet goes unanswered for a little while?

In the short-term, I think it’s a far-fetched to think that social media monitoring will stop being a 24/7 activity. There are too many companies scrambling to establish themselves as social media leaders so they want to be seen as engaged to create a competitive edge. The last thing they’re going to do is take their foot off the gas at this point.

In time, there are are a couple monitoring scenarios that could emerge:

1. Social media monitoring will embrace the call-centre model in which large teams will work in shifts to provide a company or companies with the services they want on a 24/7 basis.

2. Some companies will realize that social media doesn’t needs to be monitored but not all the time. They will devote resources for a large part of the working day but have a period of time in which social media activity happens without them watching. When the working day starts, they will deal with any issues then.

  • I can relate so well to this post Mark.
    As the community manager here at Sysomos I’m always trying to watch out for people talking about us. I mainly do most of it during work hours, but I’m also checking when I’m away from the office. I’ve even responded to people while being out on a friday night. The problem is that while I want to try and be there as much as possible, it’s not always possible. I need to sleep and eat and have a bit of a life away from work.
    While I try to be around and available as much as possible, as one man community team, it’s sometimes impossible.
    I actually wrote about this subject myself a couple of weeks ago if anyone would care to read my piece @


    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  • Hey Mark,

    You raise some valid points here. Before social media is embraced wholeheartedly and organizations recognize the need to diversify their communications channels, I think the responsibility to write the rule book will fall on social media experts and probably marketing departments, at least in the short term, until policies and people are put in place to handle specific messaging.

    (Disclosure: I’m the Online Marketing Manager at Marketwire)

  • Hey Guys,

    I think its important to at least monitor social media activities around your company 24/7 for a lot of businesses. Especially when it comes to IT/Tech-oriented brands/products this is a relevant point, cause people use your tool from all around the world 24/7 a day. But at this point I talk about monitoring.

    It was possible to work and gain profit without 24/7 call-centre 4 to 5 years ago and still it will be possible. So, for most companies it is not necessary to build a 24/7 social media centre in order to react immediately when some customer is “calling”. Respond can wait till the sun comes up 😉

    I like your point about 24/7 social media respondens being a unique selling point/advantage for some companies, I agree with you. This is going to be relevant for really big companies only (e.g. Dell).

    Small companies should monitor social media activities 24/7 but react only if there is time. And here is the point: there need to react and engage. About 60 per cent of SMBs dont understand that and dont do that. They only talk but they dont respond!

    Have a great day, SoMeCom

  • My take is opposite of what I read here. I don’t believe “the rules” of engagement will be written by the SM experts but rather by the individuals posting, tweeting, blogging and whatever the latest platform will be. If a company chooses not to reply timely to an individual, ok. But watch as that individual votes with their $$ elsewhere. I know I do already.

  • I think it depends on the client, but you should monitor 24/7 but you don’t have to act on it 24/7. What are the goals for monitoring would be my first question. Should they be sorted if so how?

    You always need to be careful not to spook the customers.

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  • It raises the question about whether this is a healthy or necessary thing. Is it really necessary to monitor and respond to social media activity on a 24/7 basis?

  • I think it also depends on industry… I managed a community for a large restaurant company, and had a lot of opportunities to drive sales outside of my normal 9-5 by responding to those looking for restaurant hours or special coupon offers. Now I work in healthcare, and while I still monitor/respond at all times, I find that people don’t expect it as much as when I was in hospitality, unless of course someone is hurt. 🙂

    I think the younger generations do/will expect the immediate response.