The word balance is typically thrown around when companies — or individuals — get overwhelmed and don’t have a clear sense of which way to go. Should we communicate more? Do we communicate too much?
The challenge with balance is there isn’t a simple, standard solution that you can apply to each and every company or organization. On top of that, your network wants a response.
According to a study by Eptica, 77% of consumers won’t wait more than six hours for an email response, 85% of consumers on Facebook expect to hear back within six hours, and 64% of Twitter customers expect a response within an hour.
That’s just dealing with your consumers. What about your employees? Your stakeholders? Industry connections?
I recently had an insightful discussion with a colleague about the sheer volume of communication that we seem to be expected to uphold on a daily basis. Emails. Social posts. Text messages. Phone calls.
The solution? Find a balance that works for you and your business. While I may not bat an eye about 20 text messages before 10 am, that same number could drive another person absolutely crazy.
While every solution should be customized, here are a few basic tips to get you started in finding the right balance for your communications.
Streamline your outreach. Review all of the communications that you’re regularly sending each month. Is it standardized information that can be compiled together, or does it require a personal touch? Consider whether you need to look at a weekly, monthly or quarterly e-newsletter to keep your employees or contacts in the loop, without inundating them with a barrage of emails every day.
Determine the right channels. You don’t have to be on every social media platform and use every single communications method available. That’s rarely sustainable and you’ll end up being ineffective. Find your audience and focus on the platforms they are using. You can be more creative and dynamic with a focused effort. Less is more.
Set clear expectations. If you email and respond to your team or clients on weekends and evenings, you set an expectation that you are available and open for business and discussion during those times. That’s great if it works for you and your business. However, if you can’t sustain that, then don’t start down that path. Establish response-time policies for your company that work for you and your clients, based on the business you’re in and the resources you have available.
Above all, it’s worth it to take the time to evaluate and find a happy balance for your communications that works for both you and your consumer.