How Important is Two-Way Conversation?

27 02 2010

All too often a company starts using social media tools such as blogs, facebook pages, and twitter accounts and then fails to keep up with them.  The point of these tools is to provide a two-way conversation between constituents and companies.  Not responding to comments or responding too late, leaves consumers and shareholders wondering about the happenings of a company, ultimately leaving a question of credibility.

Last week, Rolling Stone Magazine’s website displayed a message saying ‘What are you looking for?’.  Immediately after discovery, Twitter posts began popping up as well as blog posts concerning the reasoning behind Rolling Stone’s site message.

Although I am sure they were more concerned with getting the site back up, not responding to posts and comments escalated into skepticism of the magazine’s business actions (like the loss of funds and forgetting to renew the domain name).  It wasn’t until a news article that people’s skepticism was put to rest.  Even now there isn’t much information, but the site has gone back up.  Perhaps they should devise a new social media strategy to ensure there are no questions left unanswered.  Companies that keep up on their social media tools leave followers with clarification and satisfaction.  Do you think there is any time that a company should steer clear of responding?  If so, when?

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6 responses

28 02 2010
Mary-Kate Wilson

You bring up a good point. We have always been told to respond to everything, all comments, negative and positive. However, I think that in times of a company crisis, it makes sense to get the information out to the public and make them aware of what’s going on. However, in that time frame, readers and followers should not expect immediate answers to comments and questions. They should realize that the company has a lot of internal issues to work out at the moment, and need to focus on fixing the problem rather than answering blog questions.
So that’s my answer. A company should steer clear of responding when dealing with internal issues, so that it may be resolved as quickly as possible, and THEN they can get the information out.

28 02 2010
Amy Morgan

I am glad that you brought up this issue. I cannot stand going to a site and realizing that it is a year out of date or even a month (depending on what it is) because, unless I am specifically looking for something that happened a month or year ago, I want current information or I am going to go elsewhere. In answer to your question, thats a tough one. I think that Mary Kate brings up a good point about companies needing to make people aware of what is going on in a crisis, but understanding that somethings may be more pressing at the moment.

1 03 2010
mateivictorcristian

buna ziua in primul rand va invit pe blogul meu sidiscutam aclo.

16 03 2010
Aaren Cecere

Although internal issues are a problem that needs to be dealt with in a manner best for the company itself before dealing with the public, in response to Mary Kate’s comment, you can’t expect readers and follwers to wait around for a response in the immediate-information based culture of social media. With today’s use of social media, you have to be on top of both internal and external issues simultaneously. If you are having difficulties with your webpage, you want to make sure you have a response to your audience before they even ask, I think that is more of a disfunction in crisis planning because having a missing webpage when you have a large amount of followers is not something that’s going to go unnoticed… there should have been a statement given out over social media tools, like Twitter, saying that their site would be down for a short period because of internal issues and they are sorry for the inconvience. Then with that, it would have been more effective to monitor social media and respond to comments. Although it’s impossible to respond to every comment out there, I don’t think companies should avoid responding because you need to let your public know what is going on and avoiding can be seen as not listening or not caring about your audience’s concerns when they are concerned about the fate of your company.

25 03 2010
Dustin Woolridge

Just as Amy Morgan stated, I think that keeping a webpage up-to-date is just as important as two-way communication. A company’s homepage leaves a striking first impression and if it happens to be out of date and just not on par with its competitors’ sites, that’s a major problem – it will be the last visit for many visitors.

I also think that a company should always try to respond to its consumers’ questions, even if little information is given. Just simply responding will make the consumer feel much more valuable.

27 03 2010
Taylor Scott

The way I feel about this subject is simple: you either establish a presence on a social-networking site and keep up with it, or you revert to a traditional website and don’t open up the lines of communication at all. The main reason for this is that if you promote a two-way communication relationship and then fail to come through on that promise then you run the risk of offending your customer.

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