Entering into the fray of of social media can be a pretty scary idea for any corporation. Most companies fear the negative, the bad press, the worst possible scenarios. While those can be legitimate fears, they shouldn't be crippling or the things that halt companies from participating and holding conversations with their audiences and customers. In fact, companies should look to negative situations as learning mechanisms and embrace them as an opportunities to not only do the right thing in regards to their customers, but also as opportunities to change their customer, friends and contacts into fans or evangelists.
By fearing the negative companies tend to have a death grip on control of their products, brands, or services. They mistakenly believe that they are the sole owners of their brands. In today's new and ever emerging era of consumer generated content, these companies are now in for a really rude awakening. With the rise of social media, companies are no longer the sole owner. These companies can no longer totally control the perception of their brand, logo, product, services with public relations spin, fancy press releases or cute commercials.
Gone are the days of pushing a commercial 27 times during a football game in order to hope to sell a product. Gone are the days of pushing a radio commercial 10 times in the spans of an hour in hopes to drive foot traffic to a company's store. It's no longer about the message the company wants to push on an unengaged audience. With the surge of online media and most of the population going to the internet for information, research, conversation and companionship, people tune this stuff out. They flip to their iPod to play the music they want instead of listening to the same commercial for the 10th time in an hour, they fast forward through commercials or watch it on OnDemand with no commercials - the consumer now has more control than ever before.