Tuesday, 6 October 2009

SMN, Business and consumers see things very differently

Why is business so hesitant to enter social media and social network spaces (SMN) despite the strong encouragement of consumers? Consumers love SMN. Facebook has grown to the size of a large country and China now hosts more social network profiles than North American and Europe combined. Consumers have clearly voiced for some time that they want business to be part of this space.

Mike Sachoff wrote in WebProNews

Not only do consumers want brands to be active participants in this SMN but they, in repeated surveys, have stated that they have greater confidence in brand messages received in SMN then any other source than family and friends. Given this it becomes particularly odd that business still shows such reluctance.

Thomas Crampton

So what is it that is keeping business away from SMN? Well there are a number of reasons but the one that seems to come up most frequent is "we are afraid of what people will say about us". Ms. Ochman recently wrote what she found to be the

BL Ochman, reposted in socialmediatoday, wrote

The reaction of business to avoid SMN has both logic and contradiction in it. The logic would suggest that by putting yourself in SMN then you open yourself up to comment. This only stands to reason. However, the contradiction is that consumers will and are discussing brands in SMN regardless of whether business is there or not.

If you consider the old adage "the opposite of love is not hate it is indifference" then the only thing worse than having consumers saying bad things about your brand is having them saying nothing at all.

My personal belief, after having talked to many clients about this concern of theirs, is that it is not based on fear but denial and lack of understanding. I say denial because there is the illusion that if business sticks to traditional marketing strategies then somehow they will go unnoticed in SMN. This is not the case at all. The only result of this is that brands miss the opportunity to know what is being said of them and to actively choose how to respond. So it begs the question for business; what would be considered worse? To find out consumers are speaking ill of your brand or that they are saying nothing at all?

Much success,