I was reading Brain Solis’s Essential Guide to social media this morning where he emphasizes the need of being immersed in a social community to be accepted and become a part of it. Only this would eventually lead to a sustainable relationship.
To further the observer and user debate, Todd Defren posts that those who are using social media tools to monitor brands, influencers and conversations (in that order because for most that is the priority hierarchy) must be empowered.
I agree with this view, even though deliverables in social media can be measured effectively, is widely considered an ‘all fart no shit’ exercise. So the need is to find that connect with consumers, the end-users, which is must more often than not due to decision levels and dependency which delay the process of engaging.
But you can take it further, into the realm of “Actionable Listening.” The difference here is that the folks doing the listening/responding are empowered to effect change within their organization, on customers’ behalf.