There are a few very well known phrases which have absolutely no place whatsoever on the web. Phrases such as “silence is golden” and “no news is good news”. Scientists will tell you that nature abhors a vacuum, and whether it is natural or not, the Internet is similarly lacking in tolerance when it comes to an absence of comment or news.

I’m talking here about those companies which view their online presence on sites such as Twitter or Facebook as being little more than an out tray. Important announcements and advertisements can be quickly and conveniently dumped on the relevant page, with no requirement whatsoever to even remotely consider that the out tray is also an in tray.

If you have a few dozen, a few hundred or even a few thousand followers on your Twitter page or your Facebook page then it is reasonable to suppose, indeed reasonable to expect, that from time to time some of your customers or interested followers will respond to your posts, or will raise questions or suggestions of their own. Similarly if an important news story breaks across the media which has at least some relevance to your industry or line of work then it is also reasonable for people to anticipate your response and thoughts on that news.

If you fail to respond to comments, questions, responses, events or relevant news stories and announcements then you are creating a vacuum. That vacuum will be noticed and will be filled, most usually by people commenting on your lack of initiative or interest, all of which will almost certainly result in negative publicity and adverse marketing.

It is essential to make sure that you do not make the mistake of seeing social media as merely a way for you to transmit information. The key is in the word ‘social’, implying interaction and communication. Get it right and the marketing potential is enormous. Get it wrong, and the marketing potential is enormous.