Can brands afford not to be on social media ?

Consumers expect brands to be on social media but more importantly they also expect brands to listen to what they are saying and answer them when they have a question.  This means more than just saying “thank you”, it means actually talking to users a individual people and really joining in on the conversation.

A lot of brands are wondering if social media is worth the effort.  What they should be asking is “can we afford to ignore our customers who have a question about our products or brand ?  When it comes to answering consumers and customers questions the motto should be “instant gratification takes too long!”

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For this reason alone marketers need to rethink their approach and monitoring of social media.  There are so many tools available to monitor social media including some that will notify you if your brand or product is mentioned.  What I have found is reinforced in recent research: a lot of companies are not spending a lot of time or effort monitoring social media even when they launch a social media program.

Reality 101: Using social media effectively to meet brand objectives costs money and time.  

Reality 102: If you don’t execute what you do on social media you’re going to pay a huge price.

A good example of this was sent to me via Linked In: A Whole Foods customer said “One day Whole Foods tweeted that they were having a HUGE sale on Alaskan Salmon. I went over to the store and everyone in the store said, “No, there isn’t any sale today.” After that, I no longer took WF seriously via Twitter.”.

So the lessons for marketers are clear:

  • If you launch a social media program for your brand ensure you have a plan in place to monitor social media and respond where appropriate.
  • Social media takes time and in some cases a budget (most cases actually).
  • Instead of asking “should we use social media” ask “can we afford not to be on social media?”
Stop wasting so much time trying to justify the expense of social media marketing and just go out and do with the understanding that it’s part of an integrated marketing program and just one gear of consumer brand touch points.

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