Before getting into the meat of this post I want to say “Hi!” to everyone reading, especially to those who greeted the announcement of my joining Voce nation with many rounds of congratulations and well-wishes, whether it was here, on my personal blog or on Twitter.
In my short time at Voce so far, I’ve been doing a lot of listening. Part of that has been internally, learning the ins and outs of the agency and figuring out what everyone here does and how I’m going to be working with them. This part has been pretty easy, as I’ve been greeted with enthusiasm and encouragement. There’s such a great team here and everyone I’ve met has gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and help me get up to speed on everything, from client projects to internal processes.
The other major chunk of listening I’ve been doing has been on behalf of clients. I don’t need to expound on why it’s important to have ears open in the social media world so, uncharacteristically, I won’t anyway. But I’ve been running searches, plowing through RSS feeds and making sure that if a conversation is important, it’s flagged.
Here’s what might fly in the face of some people’s thinking though: I’ve discovered over time (not just here but cumulatively as a result of my previous experiences as well) that not everything needs a response by the brand manager.
I know it’s fashionable to think that any time someone talks about a brand online there needs to be responded to or acknowledged by a representative of the brand, but I don’t think that’s actually the case. There are some cases where such a response is not only unnecessary because there’s nothing within the post that warrants a discussion, but can actually wind up being an intrusion. Imagine if you’re talking about a movie with your spouse over dinner and every time you mentioned the name of the film a publicist popped their head in and said “I heard you say something…can I be of assistance?” Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Now there are certainly times where it’s absolutely appropriate and necessary that brand managers join the conversation. Customer service issues, mis-representation of facts or other issues along those lines need to be addressed. You won’t get any argument from me about that. But there are other times where people are just having a talk between themselves and their readers and it’s enough to be aware of what’s being said without any action being taken.