The fatal mistake brands are making by ignoring social conversation

First, let’s define what we mean when we say the “fatal mistake.” The fatal mistake is the inevitable failure of your brand, which will result from the seemingly small misjudgment of ignoring social conversation.

It sounds unreasonable. How can an established, and successful, business see its downfall from ignoring social conversation? The truth is, if you remove the subject, this isn’t a new phenomenon.

Businesses fail when they don’t keep up with their customers’ needs. The methods for listening to what customers need change constantly with technology and experience.

2003-2015: The years when you sort of had an excuse

It’s been 13 years since MySpace took off in 2003. Businesses have been scrambling since then to find the best way to advertise to millions of people socializing on one website. Like print, radio, and television before it, there was a period of trial and error.

We had to learn the way people used social media before we could make it work. Meanwhile, new social networks are popping up, and longtime favorites like Facebook and Twitter are changing every day.

Since marketers aren’t superhuman (yet), the methods for reaching our target audience will work for a limited time, until the clever humans we advertise to (us) catch onto our techniques and ignore them.

2016 & Beyond: No more excuses

But the time has come when ignoring social conversation altogether is clearly asking for trouble. It’s hard enough to keep up with determining future trends, let alone falling behind on current trends.

If you need further convincing, the Pew Research Center recently published a study that revealed how many American adults used social media in the past decade. In 2015, nearly two-thirds (65%) of American adults use social networking sites:

pew research center number of us adults using social media 2005-2015

The cold, hard facts

By ignoring social conversation:

  • You ignore opportunities to discover upcoming trends.
  • Your customers are holding conversation about you in a public forum, and while you’re invited, you’re not attending. The negative things they say about you fester, without resolution, resulting in poor customer experience and churn.
  • You’re ignoring the power of real-time sharing and conversation that could increase the success of your marketing campaigns (both online and offline).
  • You allow your competitors to discover trends before you, provide better online customer service, and be more visible and engaging as a brand.

The cost to your business? Billions of dollars.

What to do before it’s too late

“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data,” said American computer programmer Daniel Keys Moran.

All businesses collect data to measure their success and future projects. It’s usually a combination of sales numbers, internal data, surveys, focus groups, or other market research.

The fatal mistake that brands are making is to ignore a new source for research.

This is a resource that offers unsolicited opinions from customers, can determine how people feel about a brand in real time, and uncover emerging trends. This resource is social conversation published on social media, blogs, forums, and eCommerce sites.



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