Brands Still View Social Media As Risk Not Reward

Monmouthshire, United Kingdom (PressExposure) July 22, 2009 -- Brands are spending too much time viewing social media as a risk management exercise and are missing out on lucrative opportunities to engage with their audience, according to social media expert William Buist.

Buist claims that social media gives businesses an opportunity to develop new strategies and new ways of being in touch with customers and those who engage well and effectively will find they get significant information and feedback to help them develop and grow. But ultimately, he says the brand's approach to social media will largely be determined by whether they view it as a risk or as an opportunity.

"It's not enough to appear when a problem has arisen, make apologetic noises and leave, because the consumers see it purely as a means of correcting the current issue rather than correcting the underlying problem or listening to the consumers' voice over a period of time," explains William Buist, founder of The

Buist says Brands that encourage their customers to talk to them have long been seen as more robust and stable than those that bury their heads in the sand, but in the social media world that means being around consistently, all of the time.

"That doesn't mean firing off short comments without thought, but having a well practiced, well rehearsed, experienced group of people interacting on behalf of your business with all of the social media sources for conversations about what you do," explains Buist.

For time-strapped businesses, this may sound labour-intensive, but Buist claims that much of this can be automated, and Brands can easily monitor when a conversations starts and respond accordingly. In some cases, brands may choose to start the conversation themselves, as was the case with Mornflake who are using a social media campaign to invite members of the public to make videos about their values. It's a social media driven awareness campaign from a 333 year old traditional company that's demonstrating interest in their customer's views and values.

"When people see your willingness to interact and deliver a consistent and persistent message about what you do, then you can find that social media can be really leveraged heavily for you rather than being a potential weapon for those few customers who do feel dissatisfied with what you've done. You cannot please all of your customers all of the time and so don't try to. There will be complaints and there will be comments that are negative, but in reality they're just part of the picture about the brand that's painted. It's not what they say that matters but how you react to it," says Buist.

About Abelard Management Services

Notes to Editor

William Buist is Managing Director of Abelard Management Services, which specialises in developments in the Societal Web.

After a 22 year career in Insurance, including serving as Head of Business Risk Management and Chief Underwriter for Lloyds TSB Insurance, William became a director of a consultancy company in 2001 that focuses on supporting corporate teams delivering major change, where he has achieved substantial success with many medium and large clients.

William personally focuses on online community development, social networking and collaborative development within and between businesses. Amongst his many clients, he has facilitated the growth of the Ecademy Life Members Community - a premium global group of Entrepreneurs and Business Owners of which he is now the Club President.

William is also the author of 'At Your Fingertips: A guide to successful online business networking' (£5.99, Word4Word) which draws on his own experience of using and working in online network as part of his own marketing and development strategy and highlights the challenges that many face.

William is no stranger to the public arena, and regularly speaks at events and conferences and as a guest speaker at corporate events.

William can provide advice and comment on a wide range of issues including the Societal Web, social and business networking, stakeholder engagement via online communities, team development, high performance teams, on-line communities, delivering change, project management and change management.

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Press Release Submitted On: July 21, 2009 at 7:13 am
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