I spent a lot of time these past few weeks posting blogs about the 'Healthcare, Legal, Financial, and Retail' sectors, mainly to highlight that whilst they say they have a 'social presence', they aren't really interested in listening to you and me, because its all about them, and we've genuinely struggled to find evidence otherwise.

When I say 'lack' I'm actually being extremely generous because at time of writing and following over 60 different post on Twitter over a 24 hour period, specifically tagging many global brands from each of the sectors mentioned above, including ironically a major industry event that showcases 'digital innovation' in the healthcare market, I've not had one reply, acknowledge or engagement.

So what you might say?.

I would be inclined to agree if they weren't all promoting how digitally brilliant and innovative they are on 'social media' - its just all the same corporate diatribe, its all 'advertise and promote', its all, me, me, me!, and the agency charged with managing the account couldn't care less, they're still getting paid no matter what because they probably don't have to provide KPI's and ROI results.

I went as far as including and asking questions directly to a number of 'Digital and Social Media' senior executives via their social media profiles, what was the response? nothing, not a jot....and as you can tell, it really pisses me off, but really shouldn't surprise me when they are in the same ball park with many other companies we benchmark.

These are huge companies with immense resources at their disposal, with mission statements about 'social diversity, social inclusion, socially aware', yet the basics are missing. We see far more 'listening' evidence from much smaller businesses, they don't have access to the abundance of human and financial resource these companies have, yet they're the ones who seem to be engaging with, and winning the hearts and minds of the big boys consumers.

To invest in 'Social Media' means you must be willing to invest in what your customers are saying about your product and then implement those insights into solutions that will benefit your customers. The consistent process of listening and acting on solutions derived from listening will result in higher brand equity and of course, ROI.

With social media increasing its reach as a sea of opinions, perspectives and a means of self-expression, you better be concerned if your product has a negative sentiment among your customers. Once these negative sentiments about your brand has spread like wildfire, don’t be surprised if sales start to dwindle. Also, you may be missing out on constructive feedback about your product and (very important) monitoring your competitors on social media.

Chances are the people who really need to read this rant (blog) are the very same people who are only interested in broadcasting their corporate message, and don't have time to 'listen'.