Social media is giving consumers a say in everything from how much they like a particular product to how poorly their customer socialmediaphoneservice issue has been handled. Businesses are quickly learning to address these comments, especially the ones with the negative tone. But are marketers missing an opportunity if they ignore the positive comments? A recent blog post on ShopperTrak considered this question.

The ShopperTrak post reviews the new Socialnomics book by Erik Qualman who suggests that merchants aren’t doing enough to reward the brand loyalist who take the time to post positive comments.  Earlier this year, an Edison Research study showed that 42% of consumers who complain to a marketer via social media expect a response within an hour. A quick response time can drain the resources of an understaffed customer service or social media department. Businesses may cringe at the thought of increasing staff in a department like social media which they may have initially under budgeted.

But, marketers shouldn’t lose sight of basic economics in these situations. Acquiring a new customer is far more expensive than maintaining an existing customer. Qualman cites another study which shows that “dormant communication between a brand and its customers can yield an attrition rate of 50 percent over five years.”

To maintain good relations with happy customers and to create brand evangelists, retailers and other marketers must take the time to reward the folks who post positive messages on a regular basis, even if the reward is something as simple as a nice comment in return. This effort must be balanced with what it takes to address the negative comments.

Have you been advising your clients to actively manage their positive social comments?