Chris Brogan loves his Saturn, so a couple of days ago he blogged about it and offered suggestions for how Saturn could better engage owners, fans and by extension in-market car shoppers through more effective use of social media channels.
And then an interesting thing happened -- a representative from Saturn stopped by Chris's blog and left a comment. Check the comments thread. Saturn's Kyle Johnson chimes in at comment #11, responding to Chris's post and letting him know exactly where he can find Saturn on the social web. Chris and his readers talk back to Kyle as the thread continues and it will be interesting to see if Kyle continues the dialogue or if Saturn has moved on, having checked the "chrisbrogan.com" box on their blogger response spreadsheet.
But either way, this is exactly the kind of thing more brands should be doing -- not once and not just when something goes horribly wrong, but every single day. If customers, fans and haters are talking about you every day (and they are), you need to be listening and talking back. Mostly listening, but there's a lot to be said for joining the conversation when you have something meaningful to add.
This approach is standard practice for crayon and its clients (Saturn and GM are not clients, although they were when I was at Digitas), but it seems like it is still far from standard practice among the majority of major brands. So kudos to Saturn on this one -- keep it up. And for anyone who isn't monitoring online conversations and joining in as appropriate, you're missing a huge opportunity to market smarter and build better consumer relationships.
I'd love to hear about your favorite examples of big brands doing social media right. Chime in.