One of the things that happens when you become slightly famous is that a whole lot of people want a little piece of your time. Sure, it may only be ten minutes, or even two, but multiply that by dozens, or even hundreds, of people, and pretty soon you’re buried in a stack of email, voice mail, Twitter DMs, Facebook messages, and so on, most of which will take some time to reply to, and some of them maybe never.
That can be frustrating enough by itself – you want to help everyone and reply to every email in a timely fashion, but it’s simply not possible, or at least not practical. Unfortunately, some people take offense at it, or attribute it to something other than simply information overload. They think you’re either mad, rude or disorganized, when in reality, you’re just very, very busy.
Social media can exacerbate this problem. Besides creating even more channels for people to demand your time, it also can create difficulty when you’re publicly spending time in social media and people who are trying to communicate with you individually see that, as happened to Steve Rubel last night:
I can empathize with both sides of this. On the one hand, I totally empathize with Steven in this situation. The smiley face is a small amelioration of the fact that he’s being called out on this issue over an 8-word Facebook post, which I’m sure took far less time than responding to her email would.
[NOTE: Karen’s a friend of Steve’s, not a client, and this post was clearly in fun, but still, it illustrates the point. What follows is stream of thought, not based on this specific example. I’m not accusing Steve of what I describe below, and I realized after the fact that it may have come across that way. Apologies to Steve & Karen for that – not my intention.]
On the other hand, if I were a paying customer of someone, waiting on work from them, it would be very frustrating for me to see them blogging, conversing on Twitter, posting extensively on Facebook, etc. As a service provider, I become pretty scarce in social media when I have clients waiting on work from me. While you’re entitled to use your time as you see fit, and to continue to engage in marketing while you have client work due, I think being really “out there” in public social media is kind of rubbing it in their face.
Always keep in mind that your current customers are far more important relationships to your business than your social media fans and followers. Take care of your existing customers first and foremost, even if that means a brief hiatus from your social media channels.