Even If You Can’t/Won’t Engage, You Need to Monitor

Man and woman looking at laptop computerIt’s a common, and possibly over-analyzed, topic. One that has been discussed at nearly every social media conference I have attended. Yet, I’m going to broach the topic again. Should you engage in social media?

Instead of debating the pros and cons of engaging in social media, I’m going to take a slight detour.  If you can’t or aren’t willing to engage, you at least need to monitor.

I think one of the largest misconceptions among organizations not involved in social media is that, if they don’t have a social media presence, nobody is talking about them. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Even if you aren’t on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn and/or the like, people are still not only talking about you, but also to you.

This dilemma reminds me of one of my favorite tweets from TJ: If a personalized, targeted pitch falls in the forest and doesn’t make a sound, does the flack exist? Well, if a complaint lands on Twitter and the company in question doesn’t know about it, is the tweeter still dissatisfied? The answer, obviously, is ‘yes.’

If the bakers at Cupcakes’r’Us are in the kitchens crafting confections, and a disgruntled consumer quips about a poorly iced cupcake on Twitter, Cupcakes’r’Us may never know about it. That doesn’t mean the consumer’s 2,500 followers haven’t made a mental note to never visit Cupcakes’r’Us again. While it only takes one influencer to start a World Wide Rave, it also only takes one naysayer to start the decline of a brand’s reputation. Hence, if you can’t/won’t engage, you still need to monitor.

We all know that time is money – Google Alerts, Twitter Search and search engines in general exist for a reason. Take the five minutes you spend sipping coffee and search while you sip. Show your customers that you know where they are and what they are saying about you, even of their communication platform of choice isn’t one where your brand engages.

To me, this is common sense. Or as Keith would say, common sense done right. Yet I see volumes of customer service complaints for a multitude of brands representing a diverse range of industries go unanswered each day – and that’s just on Twitter!

To that end, do your favorite social media-absent brand a favor and print out a few anti-brand tweets or this blog post for their review. The sooner they monitor, the better off they will be.

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  • jessicaschmidtbonifant

    All great points! You can't just stick your head in the sand and hope for the best.

  • johnwhitcomb

    This is some great advice and is even more important because I have found that if a consumer is going to bother mentioning your company, they fall in one of two extremes. Either they love your product or company and are singing your praises in which case you should acknowledge them, or they are complaining bitterly which gives you the opportunity to reach out to them. After all the personal touch goes a long way.

  • LOL thank you for referencing my self-pity. :3

    And as always, great ideas for what we all need to be thinking about. Lots of people dismiss Twitter and Facebook as vapid, pointless, and ephemeral but those people are missing the point. It's not about the platform, it's about people talking about you in public to everyone who will listen. And that is going to keep happening on a larger and larger scale, regardless of future platforms.

  • Great points, Danielle! There's the adage that saying nothing is actually saying something. There are a couple categories that the “no response” companies can fall under: 1) ignorance towards people using the technologies to talk about the company 2) cluelessness towards not knowing what the tools are and their uses, and 3) arrogance towards knowing what is being said about the company and disregarding it as unimportant.

    With that in mind, you're right that monitoring is the very least that needs to be done. Communication professionals know that it is important to monitor coverage of the company/client, so the fact that they would avoid doing so is poor practice. And if they fall under the “cluelessness” category, then it's time for an education.

  • jeffespo

    Great points Danielle. While not everything can be responded to for all companies, not listening is pure negligence by the PR team.

    Listening – if nothing more- gauges what the perception is of your client/company. So knowing what is being said is a must as it can help shape your outreach as well as marketing tactics.

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