I received a report in my inbox this morning stating that top brands tend to ignore customers questions & comments on social networks, and that if the comment was negative the tendency to respond dropped further. There is no doubt that the fact that social media sites are interactive & allow anyone to contribute to your “Marketing space” is a major factor when considering how to use them, but I think the results above suggest that many top brands may not taking these media seriously. From a marketing perspective, the fact that your marketplace is engaging with you and taking the time to give their opinion (Good or bad) should be an asset. If the comments are good, then great, but what if someone starts posting negative comments about you on your facebook wall. My suggestion would be to engage with them. If they have a gripe with your products or service then you need to take notice. If it is a legitimate gripe then deal with it, work to resolve the issue with that customer, make sure you publicise that it has been resolved and learn from the experience. If it is a malicious or unfounded comment (and in my experience these are few and far between in the SME arena) then by all means respond to it if it is appropriate, but don’t be afraid to ignore it if it is not worthy of response, or remove it is it is malicious or potentially libellous. This type on interaction has to be managed/moderated, but the trick is to do this with a light hand, and to encourage open & frank discussion and honest comment. Much of marketing is about developing a trust between you and your marketplace, and a well managed discussion on a social media site can go a long way to supporting this. If you are seriously planning to use social media in your marketing mix, then be ready to respond to comments and accept that they will not always be good, but the bad ones will usually be honest, and thus need dealing with!! If on the other hand, you are not willing to engage in this way, then I would suggest that you think twice before adding social media to your marketing toolbag!