When thinking about social media, and how to respond, it is important to remember that most social media kerfluffles have extremely short life spans, yet can have long-term implications. A great example of this comes from the 2012 Presidential election and the waves caused by Mitt Romney’s idea to stop funding PBS to help fix the federal deficit.

In one night, Romney and Big Bird went from zero mentions to 35,000 unique mentions – and that doesn’t include the Retweets! It was even turned into memes.

Photo: Quickmeme.com

Now that the dust has settled on the election, what can we learn from Romney and Big Bird?

Be aware that short-lived conversations can impact your brand

While Big Bird was a short-lived topic, a quip during the debate has inextricably bound Romney’s public image with Big Bird and his friends on Sesame Street.

Have a plan for monitoring conversations

Since not all conversations happen on your blog, Facebook page or with an  “@” of your brand, set up the ability to track the conversations so you know when they’re happening, what they’re about and how to respond. This could be as simple as Google Alerts or a robust system like Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Build a capacity to respond

Much of the give-and-take around Big Bird was spontaneous; Sesame Street fans and its opponents of all ages and political persuasions participated. In terms of your business, this means that in order to stay relevant, you have to invest in social media.

Do you have a plan to respond to conversations about your brand? How do you measure it?

Free Ebook: 5 Steps to Effective Social Media Measurement