Sure you're in the space, but does anyone care?

Brand Republic posted a list of the top 100 most talked about brands on Twitter (as compiled by Revolution and social media agency Jam) last month, with Starbucks, Google, and the BBC topping the list. The list only corresponds to brand mentions over a period of a few days, so the exact rankings should probably be taken with a grain (or even a chunk) of salt. But on top of that, several readers were quick to point out a surprising absence of some key brands like Jet Blue and Zappos that are often hailed as leaders in the social media space for their great Twitter presence. After all, how could an actively tweeting company with hundreds of thousands of followers miss the top 100 of any brands-on-twitter list? One reader, George Nimeh offered Twitter's being inherently fickle as one explanation. "It's a live stream," he says, "[and so] a 3-day survey is bound to have huge gaping holes." It's certainly a valid point, but I think it misses a bigger one which many supposed social media experts would have difficulty addressing head on: that having a strong social media presence does not automatically result in a dramatic increase in the number of people who are actively talking about you. You can put your information out there daily and you can even convince large numbers of people to listen in, but just because they're listening doesn't mean they are telling their friends about it. Are you focused more on your follower count than you are on creating buzz-worthy initiatives? Do you have incentives in place for customers who spread the word? As fleeting and varied as these results might be on any given day, they force us to think about the end goal of any social media campaign. What do you all think? Is joining the conversation enough without eventually becoming the topic of conversation?

- Devin