400 million active users + thousands of fan pages + friend lists of at least 100 people + status updates and comment options = a whole lot of conversation. Facebook chat may suck, but that doesn’t constrict the amount of chatting on Facebook. People talk about all sorts of things, their lives, their partners, the past day, shopping, your brand…..
Social media is the most valuable resource currently available that gathers customer opinion without any specific effort on the consumer’s part, even. Surveys are too much of an effort, and have too many hazards of bias. Social media, on the other hand, is open, free, and puts no pressure on the consumer to like or dislike your brand. Twitter is the new Opinion column in the Mumbai Mirror. Bad service, pushy staff, unavailability of products – irritated customers proclaim their dissatisfaction on the microblogging site to their followers. The customer also alternatively tweets about the wonderful time she had, the great dress she bought, the rocking grill at the food-court and the gig in the car-park.
Monitoring social media can help you capitalize on this availability of information. It includes collection as well as a comprehensive analysis of web opinion. Consumer opinion just got so much more accessible.
What is a brand missing out on, if it isn’t monitoring conversations about it? A whole lot of things: opportunities for interaction, low-cost customer service, promotion at an opportune moment (If a tweeter tweets asking about Gucci purses available in Bombay, the brand can tweet back updating the tweeter on their store at Nariman Point), knowing mass perceptions of your brand, and of course, crucial information.
Social Media has caught on rabidly and it is best if brands and companies join the band – if only to watch.