You no longer control the message

Whether or not you engage in social media with your business, social media may be engaging you. People are interacting with and talking about your brand online. They control the message. You only get to participate in the conversation. This can be good or bad, as shown by two example.

The first is a 2009 social media campaign launched by Starbucks wherein content participants vied to be the first to locate, photograph, and post new Starbucks posters to Twitter with appropriate hashtags. Great idea, except at the same time a producer of an anti-Starbucks video was releasing his video. He found out about Starbuck’s campaign and was able to hijack it to get people to instead submit protest pictures. Though Starbucks pulled the plug on the contest, the damage was done–and continued on for some time.

The second is an experience I had yesterday at a networking event. FourSquare is still fairly new, and I haven’t seen much evidence of it being used in Boise yet. One person in my Facebook network, however, regularly uses it to check in at the gym where she works out.

At the networking event I met the couple that owns the gym. Since I’m constantly on the lookout for new opportunities for my clients I thought I’d ask them how FourSquare is working for them. They had no idea what I was talking about. They didn’t know what FourSquare was, let alone that someone was giving them free publicity through it. Their response was correct: they vowed to find out more, and also find out who their customer giving them the publicity was and reward her (that’s what FourSquare is about, really).

This was a positive example, but of the same concept: people will talk about you whether you know it or not. Ignorance is understandable, but not helpful. Your best bet is to start listening and make sure you are a part of the conversation.

Reputation management is one of the services we offer. Even if you can manage your social media effectively, we can help you monitor the Internet to detect conversations about your company.

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