At the New Marketing Summit yesterday, someone said "Social Media is a commitment, not a campaign". This has been said over and over again in books like Groundswell, at conferences, and in countless blog posts. But the majority of businesses still act as if they can dip their toe in the water and then leave if they don't get results right away.
Part of the commitment is building trust between a brand and its consumers. Consumers want to know that the brand is sincere and will be active before they will invest their time. If brands prove this to them with consistent action and dedicated resources, consumers will give back tenfold.
For example, Start Up Blog posted a recent article entitled "On Social Networks, Give and You Shall Receive". They detail the case of Train Signal, an IT training company. Iman Jalali, Train Signal's director of sales and marketing, said "I really feel like a company blog should be treated as its own living, breathing entity, rather than a chore. It should make you feel like you walked into the company's office and you now have a personal connection with that company." Because of this, they have a very active blog, with customers contributing new topics daily. Train Signal also follows the same process on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Consumers want to get involved with brands. Businesses who commit to developing relationships with those consumers will be the ones who are successful in the world of Social Media.