In one session, the speaker asked the audience of about one-hundred catalog/retail/online (aka Multichannel) marketers if they used Google Alerts to tell them when customers or other individuals were speaking about their brand.
Not one person raised their hand.
An attendee told me ... "I just don't understand this viral stuff. I'm supposed to just trust that customers will spread my message via word of mouth?" When we've been raised to push a message to customers, it isn't easy to trust that others will do the work for us, if the message is worthy of spreading.
Another attendee told me ... "We jumped all over e-commerce ten years ago. We're going to be the last to jump on social media."
This theme came up several times ... "Why would I plunge into social media when we can't even get the resources to manage our website properly?"
Monitoring your brand is free and it is easy. Assign one person the job of monitoring what folks are saying about your brand. Oftentimes, it is good to pick a gifted person in your contact center. These folks listen to customers every day. Change the focus of this person --- to listening to customers via social media instead of customer complaints submitted via existing channels.
The attendees who spoke with me suggest social media is down the list of priorities, but is high on the list of things to pay attention to. And that is a shame, given that monitoring social media is free, and participating only requires time.
More than anything else, I sensed that the attendees were so buried under other topics that social media represented another competing priority --- one that isn't guaranteed to generate a positive ROI.
And catalogers love generating positive ROI.