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 Can social media listening be considered as an intrusion to user privacy?

Can social media listening be considered as an intrusion to user privacy?

Would it be wise to interrupt someone else’s conversation in a pub? The answer which comes naturally is “No” but won’t it be good if you have something valuable to share which the other person might find relevant.
This is the basic premise that we are going to discuss here – Is jumping into conversations on social platforms is an intrusion to someone’s privacy? Is social media listening unethical?
Let’s discuss this in detail:-
Social platforms especially twitter, is the most used network by consumers when it comes to ranting about their experience with a brand or when it comes to sharing their perspective about the world events and happenings.
It has always been a matter of controversy, that social media listening is a serious intrusion into the user’s privacy. Brands use social listening tools to sift through the data on some pre-fixed key phrases for engaging with the customers and governments use it to keep a check on suspicious activities.
Below is an example of an excellent social listening approach by Sainsbury’s. The brand responded just when a customer tweeted about them, though even there was no intention of any advice/help, it was just a rant
There is a very fine line between when social media listening becomes social media spying. And, that is when the complainant is not able to derive value out of the conversations. Possibilities are very high that user might feel it as a disturbance.
Though, there is no predefined formula as such, that whether brands should indulge into the conversation, but yes if the response from the brand provides value, adds to their knowledge can be a deciding factor.
It depends a lot on the community manager who is handling the conversations; the person needs to be well informed and knowledgeable about brand’s philosophy and how communication flows on social platforms.
Users do not really subscribe to the social media listening tactic used by the brands – A survey report reveals;

  1. 42% of participating companies expressed “social media listening” as one of their priorities,
  2. 43% of the consumers feel that they consider social listening as an invasion of their privacy,
  3. 64% of the consumers feel that the brands should respond to the complaints only when they ask for their help,

Advice for community managers;

  1. Try not to impose yourself onto the customer while engaging on social media platforms,
  2. Always try to know a little about the complainant before engaging, especially when they haven’t asked for the help,
  3. Context is again the king here, try to understand the context before responding and answer accordingly.
  4. Show that the brand is really dedicated to attending queries/complaints,

Right now, seeing the position social networks have established in our lives, we can’t just afford to not to listen to the online conversations, but care should be taken before taking the jump!
All the best!