So is Corporate America really ready for real social media? What do I mean by that?
I don't mean, do they have a Twitter account, or maybe even a Facebook page. What I mean is are big brands ready for the scrutiny that social media and commentary of all types that result from social media. These companies invest millions upon millions or even billions on brand building and social media can have a large negative impact on one of these billion dollar brands fairly quickly.
I say they have no choice, social media is here, so embrace it and learn how to deal with the feedback as a positive thing. You find out customer feedback immediately without having to pry information out of users through canned surveys and focus groups, or worse, a huge drop in sales with no explanation.
The reason I bring this up is I chatted with one of these multi-billion dollar brands the other day (whose name I shall not reveal given this comment) that actually said "we would never participate in a ratings & review site because we want to protect our brand". This was in reference to Comparz, which ranks business software according to user reviews. I can see Hyatt or one of those large travel brands saying this about TripAdvisor 10 years ago, but can you imagine now TripAdvisor not having Hyatt hotels in its listings?
The even crazier part of this story is that this company actually sells social media software. Hmmm. This just really made me wonder if large brands aren't practising what they preach? Will their brand get erroded by the swift and nimble players that will use social media to help them build their brand, communicate with their users and take in feedback, whether positive or negative, to better their products and services?
I say use social media as an opportunity for market research and customer engagement. What could be better?
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