This week I’ve had two social media encounters that have really brought it home as to how much many companies can easily fail at social media. In my first encounter, a restaurant in which I had checked-in and uploaded a picture with Gowal.la reached out to thank me for having done so. This is a new restaurant chain and we really rather like the concept. It was really nice to have them reach out, and I felt that they had initiated an invitation for me to engage with them.When they didn’t reply to my engagements, I felt that the weren’t really serious about building up their customer base through social media. What an opportunity it was for them to have a regular client helping them to improve and stand out not only in the social landscape, but also within their own competitive landscape. In the second encounter, with Teva the sandal maker (I’m naming and shaming because I’m still annoyed with them), I actually reached out to the company with a comment. Teva sell their new Zilch sandals in Canada at a 50% higher price than in the US. The cost of doing business is Canada is clearly not 50% higher than the states, so I reached out with a comment on how awful I felt this was. Now, Zilch sandals are a niche product for minimalist shoes enthusiasts, of whom I know a few and to whom I will always sell the merits of these particular shoes. It’s a great product for word of mouth promotion through social media. Teva actually responded to my comment on their Facebook page, but I was not satisfied and they didn’t continue the conversation. I’m now erring towards a competitor’s product. The moral of these stories is that social media is all about being prepared to engage in conversations to create and maintain relationships. If you are not prepared to do that, then consider whether you as a business should be engaging in social media at all. You’re all in, or you shouldn’t be at all.