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In Social Media, Who Gets to Ask the Questions?

However you approach the issue, social media has created both a feedback and feed forward loop between users and that is dramatically changing the power dynamics between them. Specifically, it means brands can’t simply eaves drop on the chatter of consumers about their brands, but rather customers get to ask questions that they must answer.

I’ve written a lot about the need for listening on the part of brands if they want to engage consumers. Brian Solis wrote a great post yesterday on whether brands have any answers even if they do. Valerie Maltoni wrote a really insightful post about the three types of listening that are critical to brands.

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The point is, however you approach the issue, social media has created both a feedback and feed forward loop between users and that is dramatically changing the power dynamics between them. Specifically, it means brands can’t simply eaves drop on the chatter of consumers about their brands, but rather customers get to ask questions that they must answer.

With this in mind I thought it was about time I practiced a little of what I preach. While each post I write invites its own conversations and retweets, the discussion about social media and branding today is very different to how it was a year or even six months ago. Brands are more confident, engaged and adventurous in their use of tools and consumers are more organized and vocal.

So here are 3 questions I wanted to share to hear your thoughts on what are the most pressing issues for brands around social media in 2011:

1. What is the biggest fear that brands have with social media now?

2. Of those that use it, what is their greatest frustration?

3. What do brands most want to achieve through social media?

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Reprinted from SimonMainwaring.com

Simon Mainwaring is a branding consultant, advertising creative director, blogger, and speaker. A former Nike creative at Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy, he now consults for brands and creative companies that are re-inventing their industries and enabling positive change. Follow him at SimonMainwaring.com or on Twitter @SimonMainwaring.

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About the author

Simon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, the leading social branding firm that provides consulting and training to help companies use social media to build their brand reputation, profits and social impact. Simon is a member of the Sustainable Brands Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Diplomacy at the USC Annenberg School, the Transformational Leadership Council and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London.

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