Social media engagement: Brands should be talking with customers, not at them

By Dave McGurgan | @dmcgurgan

What you’re able to read is something that I originally wrote four years ago, in 2012. At that time, many organizations still had trouble accepting the fact that they no longer were in charge of the conversation. 

The fact that customers could talk about companies and brands and their experiences with them, was a frightening reality to upper management. 

It might seem absurd in 2016 that some companies still question the value of being on social media. Yet, they still exist. For now anyway.

Talk with your customers ... not just at them

Talk with your customers … not just at them. Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives(CC Attribution)

If a company is not using social media for CRM, sales and well … engaging their customers, they are creating opportunities for themselves to be left behind. 

And in 2016, if a business doesn’t have a social media strategy that aligns with, or contributes to, their business strategy, then they really need some help.

So here it is, a message from four years ago about social media engagement. Enjoy.


One of the most common mistakes that we see made by companies that are new to social media, is that they don’t know how to talk with their customers via social.

They’re still living in the past where businesses talked AT customers was the norm.

Social media users expect to engage with their favorite brands. They’re armed with mobile devices and tablets. Your customer of tomorrow is already highly connected.

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Whether it’s a customer service issue, liking a post, asking a question or receiving an answer, users expect today that brands are engaged and engaging.

Simply put, today’s customer wants to talk with you and your brands. They no longer want brands to be talking AT them.

Let me jump up and down and wave my hands frantically to bring your attention to this key take away: Brands no longer control the conversation through one way messaging.

If you haven’t accepted this fact and adjusted your strategy, you better start learning to talk WITH your customers, or else they’ll find another brand that will be more than happy to talk with them … and do business with them.