Ready or Not...Your Brand May Be Doing Social Media Without You

Have you ever been in class or a meeting when your attention isn’t completely focused on the discussion? Probably. Now, have you been put on the spot by being asked to answer a question and have no idea what is being talked about? That’s the worst.

Luckily, most of us experience this very rarely, if ever, but it’s happening for many brands in the social media space. Brands are almost always in a social media “conference room.” However, many aren’t paying attention, and worse yet, sometimes they don’t even know that they are there.

Social media has empowered consumers to put brands in the online meeting, whether they choose to be there or not, and consumers don’t care if a brand has raised its hand to answer a question because they will ask, expecting an answer. Consumers are inviting brands to the Facebook conference room and the Twitter working lunch by creating Fan Pages, groups, Twitter accounts and blog posts in the name of brands, and those profiles are becoming resources for other customers seeking information.

Brands are often surprised to find that they already have a social media presence, even though they didn’t create it, which means accounts have gone up and blog posts have been written unknown to brands. Customers go to these consumer-generated brand resources to complain, share a favorable experience and ask questions. Sometimes these consumer-generated brand profiles are very positive, sometimes they are negative, but most of the time, they’re silent. In that case, consumers using them for information receive no answer.

Maybe your brand isn’t ready to engage in social media with an overall strategy and engagement plan, but you should at least be listening and have a plan in place for the time a consumer calls on you. How will you monitor the social media conversation about your brand? Who will respond to a negative blog post and how? What if someone leaves a negative review on Yelp! that you have a way of remedying for him or her? Have your customers already created a social network presence for you (ex. Facebok Fan Page)?

It’s okay if your brand isn’t ready to engage in social media, especially if you don’t have a strategy and the necessary resources in place to succeed, but you should always be listening and doing your homework in case the leader of the meeting calls on you. Don’t get dozing off.