Speed is essential to developing the right social media campaign, response or update. In my last post, I looked at how the right kind of market research program can support faster and more responsive social media management, inspired by The Quick and the Dead, a new ebook by my Vision Critical colleague Ray Poynter. Ray’s argument about the role of speed in business today, and the need for real-time market research, gave me a new perspective on the relationship between social media and community panels. Here are 6 more ways you can speed up your social media response times:

  1. Pre-shorten your top pages and posts: You can tweet or share a beloved blog post or key web page much faster if you remember its URL. But nobody can remember http://yourcompany.com/really-long-name-of-web-page-truncated or even http://bit.ly/vFACLf. So pre-shorten the links to pages you share frequently, and give them memorable short links like http://bit.ly/customURLS. If you really want to nerd out you can even set up a vanity URL shortener like my own “alexlov.es”.
  2. Anticipate your best and worst case scenarios: You don’t want to be Mitt Romney with no concession speech. There’s a reason that newspapers pre-write obituaries, and Oscar nominees draft their acceptance speeches: it’s best to be prepared for every scenario. So stay in the loop on your company’s pending risks and wins (the gloomy quarter, or the award for which your CEO is already shortlisted) and make sure you’ve got at least the outline of the blog posts and tweets you’ll send out if and when the moment arises.
  3. iGoogle it: Even if you check Google Reader twice a day, you want to monitor your key feeds even more frequently. My favorite technique is to subscribe to my ego feeds (i.e. blog, news and Twitter searches on my name) from within iGoogle, and to set iGoogle as my browser’s default homepage. That way, every time I open a new browser window (which is about every three minutes, all day) I immediately see anything someone has written about me. Yes, it’s narcissistic, but the same technique can be applied to monitoring your organization or brand. And yes, iGoogle is going to go away in a year, so it would be smarter to use one of these alternatives, but I’m in denial.
  4. Master the tether: Nothing is going to slow you down in a social media crisis like your iPhone’s on screen keyboard. Make sure you are a master of the art of tethering: the trick of connecting your computer to your phone so you can use its 3G or LTE connection to hook up to the Internet, even if you’re in a location with no wifi. An iPad or other tablet is another good line of defense against disconnection, as long as you pay for 3G or LTE service and (ideally) carry a hard keyboard that lets you type at full speed.
  5. Keep an evergreen file: Make sure you always have at least 3 timeless blog posts and 10 tweets or social media updates ready to go. That way you’re well-armed if you suddenly need to blog or tweet out an awkward mea culpa — and want to push it off the top of your blog’s home page or Twitter feed as quickly as possible.
  6. Set up phone alerts: This one is a recipe for madness, so use it sparingly. If there is a journalist or blogger whose online comments about your brand must be addressed in real time, set up a Google news search that will email you anytime that journalist mentions you; then use this approach to push those emails directly to your phone as a text message. If you’re as religious as I am about checking your text messages, you’ll know about those key posts virtually as soon as they go live.

A great many social media tactics come down to doing social media faster — which often translates into better, since this is a medium where quick responses are widely expected. What are your favorite tricks for speeding up social media? Share them here, or tweet me as @awsamuel.