Not every company uses social media. That might be hard to believe, based on the number of Facebook and Twitter icons you see at the ends of commercials. But truth be told, not every company sees the value in using social media to connect with its stakeholders — and to be fair, not every stakeholder sees the value in connecting with a company on social media, either.
But even the most non-social company isn't completely off the hook. Just because said company isn't trying to start conversations in the social space, that doesn't mean people aren't already there talking about the company.
This is why at least one person on staff absolutely needs to regularly do these three things:
Listen to online conversations. Use free online listening tools such as SocialMention or Topsy to find out if anyone is talking about the company, as well as if anyone out there is having a discussion in which the company should ideally be included. Google Alerts is another free tool perfect for trolling the web for mentions of the company name.
Reserve social media accounts. Every company should reserve presences on social media in an effort to make sure someone else doesn't steal their online identity and start doing damage. Presences should be very sparsely populated with basic information such as the company website, a main phone number, email address, main address. In the case of Facebook, a company can simply create a page and then not publish it.
Monitor website traffic from social media. Using Google analytics or whatever analytics tool the company website employs, regularly check for evidence of traffic coming from social media sites. If social media sites are showing up as significant referrers, that will mean that someone, somewhere, is sharing your web content via social media.
If there is consistent evidence of online conversation about the company and regular site traffic from social media sites, then it might be time for the employee doing the research to request a meeting with their supervisor. This is evidence the company SHOULD be at least joining the online conversation about them, if not facilitating it completely.