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Time to Turn Off the Megaphone
By: Mike Bush
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Social media, when done effectively, offers companies the ability to surprise and delight their customers. In addition, companies regularly say they’re looking to have a two-way dialog with their customers and provide rewarding experiences, even in the face of customer disappointment.

I once gave a presentation where I explained social media this way:
It used to be that a customer who had a lousy experience with a brand told his or her friends about it at the bar. Now, it’s like brands are seated one seat over from the talking folks, overheard the conversation and have the ability to interject themselves to try to make things better.
Well, apparently not many brands have taken advantage of this ability.

Research from Sprout Social says that only one in eight messages sent to a brand through social media gets a response.

One. In. Eight.

Good grief. There are lots of other stats coming from the study, but for PR and marketing people, something else stood out.

For every time brands reply to a customer concern, they’re sending out four other messages. No matter what message you’re trying to get out there, sending it four times for every inbound note can’t be the right ratio.

Going back to the analogy, instead of overhearing the conversation and gently interjecting, brands are turning into the annoying sports fan willing to simply talk about how great their team is, rather than listening to either side of the discussion.

No one likes that guy.

Seems like it may be time to remind some of our clients that social media is supposed to be a two-way street.

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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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