Fast Company

Are you prepared for the @reply?

Twitter culture rules these days. There are many conversations going on at the same time and that seems to be part of the attraction. People tend to want to be where things are happening. In the culture prevalent in the medium and in the Western culture for that matter, a question warrants a reply.

In fact, often it is tempting to reply with a question to a statement. That’s how we figure things out, learn about what’s going on, and develop relationships with each other.

If you have several followers on Twitter, you probably appreciate the dilemma many companies face: how do you scale personalized @reply functions once the number of people who follows you grows?

In the beginning, when you’re building the business, you pay attention to and welcome every new customer as if they were the only one in the whole world. They are. As you scale your business from small to medium, you start implementing processes and procedures to streamline and provide consistency.

Then you get to the tipping point, when your company is becoming large. Following best practices, you build layers in the organization, more policies are put in place. In many cases you also look at incentives for certain kinds of positions - sales staff and customer service especially.

How does the incentive work to balance volume? It depends.

If we are to learn from the behavior observed on Twitter, people @reply when they feel directly impacted by a question or a comment, or something in the conversation touches their experiences. But the conversation happens in plain sight and someone else may jump in to help.

Would you be open to having the community help with the @reply? Yes, I know many businesses, especially in technology, have used online forums for quite a while. But here we’re talking about a community out in the open:

  • Seeing the issues
  • Having a chance to respond
  • and to propose something                                 

And if your reply is too long, you can always write it on your Twitwall and invite people to join the discussion.

Valeria Maltoni | Conversation Agent
www.conversationagent.com
http://Twitter.com/ConversationAge

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