Chapter 11

Welcome to the Party

In the world of social media, communication is akin to conversation. Conversations are mutual interactions. A says something to B, B responds, and so begins a dialogue. If they know each other well or if the parameters of their relationship are clear, their discourse will go much as expected. If not, it is apt to be unpredictable, possibly uncontrollable, and almost always self-adjusting.

Now multiply that practically infinitely. To be sure, no single person or organization can adequately converse with hundreds of friends or millions of followers, but given that 8 in 10 people on the Internet now regularly connect through social media,1 the ability to take part in these innumerable exchanges largely defines today's social communication.

Meeting Expectations

Consumers aren't necessarily eager to chat with every brand they encounter in the social sphere. To the contrary, more than half have never even considered engaging a company via social media.2 Those who do, however, prefer that much of their communication be in the form of conversations. In fact, more than 80 percent believe that companies should respond to customers if they ask a question or file a complaint on a social site.3

Just as important, more than half expect a response within 24 hours. Sadly, only 29 percent ever get one.4 Even more lamentable is that 70 percent of questions posted by brands' Facebook fans are ignored entirely, with one in four global companies going as far as to make ...

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