Many companies don’t have ways to communicate with their consumers that actually yield beneficial results. Not many consumers fill out surveys, others don’t email or even post feedback and comments about certain products. If I’m eating a slice of Domino’s pizza and I don’t like it, I’m not going to rush to the site to comment about the quality of pizza.
Social Media can also straddle the line of ethics as well when it comes to finding out the opinions of people that use a company’s product. Websites and forums are more than appropriate places to have consumer opinions evaluated and used statistically. These are places that consumers wish to have corporations see their feedback.
On the other hand, social media monitoring helps many companies get the most genuine feedback. Many people know to call the “how’s my driving” phone numbers on the backs of trucks but seldom do it, even if the driver would clearly blow a 0.5 into a breathalyzer. Social tools like Twitter and their hash tags make it easy to pinpoint good and bad feedback from those that matter most.
The hardest public to reach is the most quiet public. One doesn’t know if they are effectively changing things to better their company’s image or product.
I believe social media monitoring is necessary for companies to build a good rapport with the individuals they affect. Following my Twitter account will be a bit much but searching for keywords is definitely not out of the realm of research.