It can happen. Someone says something bad about you online or your social media account gets hacked and taken over. Both Burger King and Jeep will now tell you the importance of monitoring your brand while the rest of the world looks on.

The time between when something happens and when it gets fixed is the response time. Response times for business will vary depending on how closely they monitor their online status. Onlookers eagerly watch to see how bad a situation can get and how keen the social media team or person handles the situation.

Now with big businesses, you would expect that they would be right on top of things. Right? After all, they have the money to have eyes on their stuff all of the time. This is not a given. But we are seeing that this is needed to handle incidents as they happen.

But for a small business that does not have the time to always monitor their social media, it can be more difficult. After all, a business has to make money and perform sales or billable hours. This can be a problem. I am trusting that the world of onlookers will be a little more forgiving in this case. A business’ reputation can be at stake. I hope they will get a little more slack.

Regardless of whether a business is small or large, they both need to have a plan to check their social media throughout the day. The sooner a problem gets fixed the better. The ideal situation is that you see the problem and it gets fixed right away. This is not usually the case.

One of the things that might be a good idea is to have a plan of action in place for when things happen. Do you have a plan in place if you get locked out of a social network because you have been hacked? One should have a printed step by step guide for help or at least some contact information on getting help when stuff happens.

So my best advice is plan ahead for things that could happen and monitor your social media when you can. Have a plan and be prepared for when disaster strikes. Have a smart phone to monitor your social media when you are away from your computer. You will be glad you did.