In The Times today (always a good source of blog post material – see this post on Getting Ideas for Blog Posts for more), there was a pullout Raconteur section about “Brand & Reputation”.
As well as many other elements of promoting your brand and your organisation’s reputation online, the main thrust was to ensure you listen to your customers and act on what they’re saying, in order to improve your business and keep customers happy.
Now, in some senses, I agree that there needs to some monitoring of what people are saying about you online. You don’t, for instance, want to ignore a groundswell of opinion that could be damaging to the potential for attracting new customers – eg if people are scathing about your services or disappointed with your products somehow.
However, the idea that you need to be constantly scouring Twitter and Facebook to refute anything you think could be detrimental is something that’s really only come from a group of people calling themselves “online reputation managers” or similar. The facts in the Raconteur pullout speak for themselves – “..less than 10% of brand conversations happen online. The majority of conversations about brands continue to happen in the real world, just as they always have…” Hardly a ringing endorsement for the idea that social media is the be all and end all of promoting your brand – and remember, this is in a pullout aimed at promoting the idea of Brand and Reputation management.
So my own suggestion is that you should certainly pay attention to what people are saying – and definitely you should take the time to respond to direct questions etc on social media within a reasonable time frame (ie not just once a week) – but don’t obsess about it, taking you away from potentially more valuable activities that can help promote your brand through word of mouth – just like in the “olden days”!