Don't be on social media -- Twitter et al. -- unless you're ready and willing to participate in social media, for social media is just that, social. (Enough "socials" to make the point?)
Some prestigious consulting firms, though, apparently don't get the point about SM. Fast Company blogger Wendy Marx called the bluff of companies like McKinsey, Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, and Booz & Company.
"To put their social media antennae to the test," she tweeted seven of the biggest consulting firms last week with the message "Can you help? Trying to reach someone in PR in U.S. to interview for a story & could use some direction?"
Only Price Waterhouse Coopers and Monitor Group responded (as of July 14). Price Waterhouse sent an e-mail the next day offering to help and Monitor.com's managing editor was on the phone within about two minutes of the tweet. Deloitte also came through, a better response then to e-mails and voice mail, though to a rather pointed tweet. The others? Heaven knows what they think social media is really about.
It's not like a bulletin board where you tack up a notice -- your Twitter moniker -- and leave it there for weeks without taking any further action. Social media is about interacting, being social. That shouldn't be a breathtaking insight. It's not the glamour of being "out there" that matters if you haven't had the foresight to do a social media plan before signing in.
Who's going to monitor your corporate streams? How will messages be developed? How promptly and pertinently will responses be made? The requirements for being effectively present to social media peers -- yes, individuals are peers to corporations out there -- should be understood and accepted before heading jauntily down the street.
Where's the corporate world, actually, with social media?
Marx quotes Aaron Strout, CMO of Powered.com: "I'm not surprised (about the snubs). In fact, I would be pleasantly surprised if these companies were responding. It's still the minority that are listening and doing proactive outreach.
"Very few companies have discovered the art of conversation, of when to engage and how to react with folks. And B2B companies are less inclined to get outside the box. We're still at the tip of the iceberg."
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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