The Right To Remain Silent

Joseph Jaffe just wrote a post saying every time your brand is mentioned on a blog you need to respond. But he’s wrong. And I reckon Adam Ferrier might even be onto something when he said brands should just leave consumers alone.

Just because someone mentions your brand name, it doesn’t mean you have to go in and “engage”. Just because someone says something about jeans on Twitter, it doesn’t mean you have to follow them if you’re Levi. And just because someone mentions something remotely related to your product, it doesn’t mean you have to comment on my blog.

This is called spam. And if you do it on this blog I have no problem tearing you to shreds.

I’m all for monitoring the social media environment. But when it comes to responding, don’t do it all the time. Only do it when you can provide value. If it’s relevant, and you can answer a question, point someone in the right direction or even give them something free or discounted, then you may respond.

And if you want to see somebody doing social media response well, the Body Shop is a good place to start. Joseph and Adam, I give you both permission to respond if you please.

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  • Mark Pollard
    Posted at June 21, 2009 6:49pm, 21 June Reply

    I concur. I keep hearing this talk: "It's about consumers having conversations with brands."

    I don't know the last time I had a conversation with my opinion of a collective of people. I don't know the last time I saw myself as a 'consumer' either.

    These words and this type of talk are simply ways to make something very real (people, how they feel, what they think) seem rational, scientific, able to manipulate.

    The key to all of this, as we know, is people. Companies (behind brands) should just 'be people' with the 'people who buy from them'.

    The marketing speak creates barriers, makes everything feel strategic, high and mighty… when it should actually be and feel the very opposite.

    BUT… now that you've mentioned the brand 'Joseph Jaffe' and called him out you're actually doing what he said bloggers do…

  • Marek
    Posted at June 21, 2009 9:13pm, 21 June Reply


    So I got annoyed when Safeway started following me on twitter after I mentioned Qantas twice in a day. This led me to think 'stalking is not a social media strategy'.
    You and I discussed this the other night Zac.

    What more would I expect from a virgin brand?
    I follow, befriend, post a comments on a brands' facebooks or microsites, I am saying 'Hey I don't mind a bit of contact'. Am I like a hot chick in pretty clothes suggesting to these brands that if they are lucky, they might get to put their hand down my pants. And I continue to go around posting and commenting and sharing my love with everyone, and then when the inexperienced social brand turns around and grabs my boob, I react with a harsh slap or 'user (cock) block'. I then go and slag them off for the next week. Is that fair?

    Now I am no sexy woman, nor am I a woman. Nor would I recommend to any of the brands we work with that this kind of behaviour is acceptable or encourageable. But surely its explainable. Just like an inexperienced dater, some of these brands are just learning how to be social, and of course its going to lead to awkward and inappropriate contact. Often that will be a simple as expected too sleep with me on the first date, just because I gave them my contact details.

    At the end of the day, they just need to get better at it. And sadly, like the real thing, it will take practice and they will lose friends during that process. With help from people like us, they might learn a bit faster.

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