In social media, aspire to be reactive


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I’m a consultant, and for consultants, nothing beats being proactive, huh? You want to be ahead of the curve, up on the latest, and [insert your favorite cliché here]. But social media is so new, and it changes so fast, that it’s really painful to be proactive. It’s enormously time consuming to have spent so much time in social media that you are ahead of the curve. You’d have no time for your real business. I am advising you to shoot a lot lower. When it comes to social media, aspire to be reactive.

Last week, I wrote a post on Biznology about being prepared to use paid search for a PR crisis. In a meeting with a really smart client yesterday, I realized that I should have been thinking bigger.
My point last week is that when a crisis hits, you can’t start figuring out how to get a Google account, how to use the keyword tool, and how to submit the paid search ad to tell your side of the story. But the same is true for social media.

If someone starts ripping you in a blog, you need to already be monitoring what is being said about you (with Google Alerts perhaps) to be ready to comment. If someone starts taking you to task in Twitter, you ought to have your company Twitter handle registered so you can respond. The moment the crisis hits is not the time to be figuring out the basics. It’s the moment to figure out the message.

And I understand that not every kind of social media is right for every business. And I know that you might not need to devote lots of time to social media if it isn’t the most important part of your marketing at the moment. But if you’ve been a social media laggard, I’d urge you to at least get your digital feet wet. At least do the set-up work even if everything lies dormant until you need it.

Time was that only large businesses had to worry about this stuff, but that’s changing. Most small businesses are already affected by local newspapers, and by ratings and reviews on Internet Yellow pages and local search sites. There’s no reason why social media will be any different.

Are you waiting for the crisis to hit before getting ready? If so, I recommend that you aspire to be reactive by preparing your tools today for the crisis tomorrow.

Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike’s previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.

Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.

It’s a great article. I second your opinion, when in crisis, there is no time to set the foundation, you already need to know how and where to react. This is where real time search comes in handy, you can search blogs, twitter and other social media sites to see what people are saying about you, your brand, your business. This is one of the reasons we have launched, it’s a one-page overview of any searched topic, so you don’t have to spend to much time surfing, but start fixing. See for yourself

Monika Lorincz
monika at
Twitter: @surchur


I’m going to admit at first I disagreed with you because I didn’t know your angle for “being reactive” instead of “proactive.” However, you brought everything together and I ultimately agree for the most part. However, I would challenge your opinion and to a certain agree and stress that if you are only “reactive” how will you stumble upon the new leads and keep up with the stuff around you? I certainly understand you have to protect your name and your reputation AT ALL COSTS because a consultants credibility is their lively hood. However, going 100% reactive is slightly overdone.

I agree that you need to be more reactive than proactive. However, there needs to be a balance somewhere – some kind of way. Because if their isn’t, either way – you will be ready to tip completely…



Well, Christine, I admit to being a bit facetious. Of course, being proactive is better, but i find that for companies that haven’t done anything yet, it’s too lofty a goal. If they aspire to be merely reactive at first, they might get off their dime instead of just standing there. (It’s a “Do It Wrong Quickly” thing.)

I think any decision maker has to deal with social media :getting inspirations and react of the whole community, it’s a good way to show off his services and be in contact with consumers .

i agree with the author and with monika. you have to be reactive and the reactivity needs to be focused in good places. good article!

of course the reactivity is a good thing esspecially as it comes to the medias. who else if not social medias have to be reactive to protect the social issues..?

Using social media is a great way to stay connected and to make new connections. Especially if you are working as a consultant. I would like to see new sites though. The old ones are loosing much of their appeal.

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