The pitfalls of listening to followers on social media

Conventional wisdom for brands on social media is to “listen.” However recent research shows that many find that intrusive. Here’s some guidance on when to step in, and when to hold back.

If you’ve been paying attention to social media advice for brands over the past few years, odds are you have heard that listening is what all the best brands do. Before doing anything else, be sure to listen. But what if your customers find that intrusive?

A recent survey from NetBase and J.D. Power and Associates found that more than half of respondents, 51 percent, say they want to be able to talk about brands on social media without those brands listening in. Almost as many, 43 percent, said they think brands listening to them intrudes on their privacy.

What this proves, according to Altimeter Group Principal Brian Solis, is that social media is not a puzzle brands can solve with a cheat sheet.

“People thought it was easier than it really is,” he says. “We’re talking about human relationships and human relationships are complex.”

‘Listening with intent’

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