Fact of the matter is, whether or not you have a social media presence, if someone has something to say about you – they’ll find a place to say it online. If you’re lucky, it’s a pokey blog in the corner of nofriendsville.com and it is not noticed by anybody.
It’s far more likely that a disgruntled customer will comment on a blog or forum which is dedicated to the product you’re trying to sell. You don’t really want potential customers seeing your product being complained about right next to comments about how wonderful your competitors’ products are.
The nightmare scenario is that they make a YouTube video, post some flickr photos and share any correspondence you’ve had with them. And tweet about it. The story gets picked up by online outlets with a broader audience and pretty soon goes viral. You don’t want to be another United breaks guitars!
If you have your own social media presence, you’re signposting to your customers that you’re listening. More often than not, consumer feedback will be directed somewhere where you have some possibility of shaping the conversation. Surely shaping a response is a better scenario than not being aware of the conversation in the first place?
[Image attribution: Learning Futures Festival 2010 via flickr]