‘Brands should not base decision on social media’… if Doron Meyassed, as cited in this MarketScan blog post, is to be believed.
Apparently, the managing director of Promise Communities said:
“decisions are too important to base on research from sources that are unverified. Indeed, this is the problem with social media interaction – it fails to define who is actually take part in the conversation.”
Of course, in reality, this isn’t the problem with social media interaction at all – it’s the problem with BAD social media interaction.
Ill-planned social media interaction fails to define who is actually taking part in the conversation. When it’s done properly, you know exactly who you are listening to and engaging with.
If brands only conduct low-cost, low-level tactical social interactions online without any strategic research, insight or planning, Meyassed is right – they are very likely to end up interacting with the ‘the same people who call to complain about Coronation Street’ rather than loyal customers.
But to extrapolate from this that ‘brands should not base decisions on social media’ is akin to saying a brand that got it’s MD’s 8 year old son or daughter to design and build an ugly, badly-functioning website for £4.50 and a packet of Smarties should therefore not ever bother having a website at all.
In reality, the brand in question should simply do the job properly.
Social tools and social web offer an unparalleled and previously unavailable opportunity to learn enormous amounts about your existing customers and target customers.
Before any brand interacts socially, a rigorous research approach should be taken to map your audience landscape and identify true influencers and detractors online and sift out those that aren’t relevant – Meyassed’s ‘Coronation Street compainers’.
Unfortunately, it seems the low-cost, low-level tactical engagement with no strategy or insight behind it that many brands have experienced from their digital and PR agencies seems to be giving the industry a bad name.
In reality, brands should definitely use the power of the social web to get an intimate knowledge of their customers and potential customers. When done professionally, they can then use that knowledge to enage with them on a real-time, ongoing basis. This feeds into better customer service, improved brand perception and allows brands to derive higher levels of customer insight.