Marketing Pilgrim's Reputation Channel

Marketing Pilgrim's Reputation Channel is sponsored by Trackur.

Online Listening Is One Thing But Should Brands Respond?


Most people agree that literally everyone, from the individual to the multi-national corporation, should be paying attention to what is being said about them online. The use of listening tools like Trackur are a critical component of the online strategy of a business because it’s simply the prudent thing to do. If you decide not to listen to the online space you have no one to blame but yourself if and when something gets sideways concerning your reputation.

A recent report from eMarketer tells of some research conducted that suggests that listening should only be the first step in this strategy as consumers are looking for response to their online pleas although the level of expectation of any response at all varies greatly based on age. Look at these findings from a study conducted by Maritz Research and evolve24 regarding Twitter complaints and the expectations of those who lodge them.

There are two ways to take this data and neither are very nice. First, it looks like the old adage that the older you get the whinier you get holds true. Also, people who are older probably think that people are not listening to them in general so the online space is one place where they hope they might get some attention paid to them. High expectations, however, could lead to serious disappointment.

The other side of tis is that the younger, tech savvy crowd has a cynicism or skepticism that results in thinking they just won’t be responded to. Those reasons could be many including the fact that they have low expectations in today’s business world of being treated personally (which is really sad) or they have just decided that expecting a response isn’t worth their effort either. No matter how you shake it, the expectations of response from a complaint on Twitter is not very high and that says something about the medium.

Now pay attention all of you Twitter business folks. This next bit of info should be enough to help you make sure that you are at least acknowledging these issues.

This basically says that even if you can only somewhat satisfy someone it will benefit you more than ignoring them completely. Another sorry statement about the general expectations of consumers and brands on Twitter but it could be worse.

Of the companies that are trying to be responsive to complaints and concerns voiced through social media there are certain things that are believed to be achieved through this active engagement. A study from Forrester that was commissioned by Dell shows these elements

It appears that there is a considerable amount of work to be done in this area. What might be some of the reasons for companies not fully engaging people who complain in social media? The most common ones are summed up in FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt).Many still fear social media because they are uncertain about its benefits and doubt that it isn’t more than a fad. I have heard that from actual businesses myself. I have to check to see if my ears aren’t clogged up since it seems like that wouldn’t be a very smart response in this day and age.

Looks like there is plenty of work to do then in the reputation space. What are your thoughts on this one?

  • http://twitter.com/#!/brickmarketing Nick Stamoulis

    “even if you can only somewhat satisfy someone it will benefit you more than ignoring them completely.”

    An attempt is better than nothing. Cynical customers can be blown out of the water if a company actually responds to their Tweet. Even if that’s just the first step and gets the ball rolling it can make a big difference.

  • http://socialdentalnetwork.com Chris

    FUD is a systemic infection!

    ORM is like insurance, the tangible benefits aren’t really visible everyday…until something goes wrong.

  • http://www.spielecheck.net Spielecheck

    I don’t expect a reply from a brand, if I post a complain. But I would be satisfied, if I get an answers for my problems.

  • Cynthia Boris

    Great timing on this piece. Two days ago I posted a complaint about a restaurant on Twitter. It was mostly me venting, but I also wondered if I’d hear from the chain. I didn’t and I noticed that I didn’t.

    Now I’m even less interested in going back to eat there again.

    • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

      You can’t leave it at that, Cynthia. What was the chain?!

  • Daniel

    A better listening tool than Trackur is socialwatching.com. Their free search feature is very useful – search.socialwatching.com.