Does Social Media Monitoring Invade Privacy?
It’s common practice for brands to monitor and listen in to what social media users are saying about them. It allows companies to solicit feedback about products or services, identify potential leads or offer social customer service.
Yet recent research from NetBase and J.D.Power suggests that 51% of social media users want to talk about companies without them listening in and 43% think social media monitoring invades their privacy.
Of course, social media users can talk about companies without them listening. Social Media Monitoring tools are subject to a network’s privacy settings and this means that the majority of Facebook posts cannot be monitored. On the other hand, Twitter is a more public network and most tweets are readily available to be viewed by anyone.
Whilst this research will do little to deter brands from monitoring social mentions, it may make them think twice about when to engage. If a customer tweets about a brand, but does not ask a direct question or request for help, should the brand get involved?
The risk is that the user will see this as an unwanted intrusion. As Leon Chaddock, CEO of monitoring specialists Sentiment Metrics, pointed out at a recent webinar, you wouldn’t interrupt someone else’s conversation in the pub, so take care if you do so on social media.
There is no magic formula to help companies decide, but by looking at the context of the conversation, looking up any previous conversation’s that the company has had with the user, and assessing whether a response would provide value, it’s possible to make an informed judgement. When customer service teams understand this balance, the response tends to be positive even if the customer wasn’t expecting a reply. It shows that the company cares and can help to build a meaningful relationship.